The Connection Between Body Weight and Sleep

There are several reasons for weight gain. A sedentary lifestyle, getting older and slower metabolism are a few of the more popular causes. There is another cause of which you may be unaware, and that is lack of sleep. Having a sleep disorder can contribute to weight gain.

Why Sleep Is Important for Weight Loss

You know the basics for weight loss. Cut calories, lose the sugar and refined carbs in your diet, exercise, eat more veggies and stick to lean meats and complex carbs. Getting enough sleep is one factor that is often left out. The amount of sleep you get has an impact on your diet. If you are doing everything else right but still having trouble losing weight, you may want to look at your sleep habits.

When the body is sleep deprived, it produces leptin and ghrelin. These two hormones cause you to feel hungry. You may eat more without realizing it, and when you do, you do not get that full, satiated feeling.

If you are getting less than six hours of sleep each day, the characteristics and levels of your glucose and insulin may look more like those of a diabetic, even though you are healthy. Without enough sleep, the body’s fat cells lose their ability to use insulin properly and this produces insulin resistance. A buildup of excess insulin can lead to diabetes.

Stress and Cravings

Lack of sleep can cause you to be irritable and more susceptible to stress. Under these circumstances, it becomes more difficult to control your appetite – remember ghrelin and leptin are being over produced. You stress level increases as the body produces more cortisol because it is sleep-deprived. Then you start having cravings.

The brain, wanting to feel good, sends signals for comfort foods – sugary and salty foods. Chips, doughnuts and all those things your body can do without become much more desirable.

Addressing Your Sleep Disorder

Gaining weight can lead to sleep apnea if the fat in the neck increases sufficiently. This increase can cause obstruction when you sleep, and the cycle for sleep apnea is set in motion.

If you already have obstructive sleep apnea, it could be contributing to your weight problem, especially if it is severe. The cycle is difficult to interrupt; you crave fattening foods because of the hormone imbalance, you are tired during the day due to lack of sleep, so you skip the exercising, which adds to the weight problem; and on it goes.

You will not magically become svelte once you address your sleep disorder; however, tackling OSA will help interrupt the cycle, so you will have a better chance of getting the sleep you need and over time, you may change your lifestyle, eating healthy foods and exercising with your renewed energy.

Overweight and obese individuals are at a higher risk for OSA. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, or your partner complains of your snoring, contact us at Buford Sleep. Get the sleep you need and reverse the problems that OSA can cause. Schedule your appointment today.