Can Sleep Loss Make Me Fat?
Here Is What Research Has to Say
Shedding the excess pounds can be a big deal. Keeping the weight off is just as taxing. But, sometimes, the calories keep piling up without you actually doing anything. This is a problem. The question is, what’s causing it? Could the lack of sleep have something to do with weight gain?
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. In fact, 16 million UK adults struggle with sleepless nights, while 31% experience insomnia. Over 13% of the UK population is taking sleeping tablets to help with sleep.
Given the hectic lifestyle, it’s no wonder why so many have trouble getting a shut-eye. We decided to dig a little deeper and see what research has to say on sleep and weight gain. Here is all you need to know.
Is Lack of Sleep Making You Fat?
Lack of good quality sleep can leave a person feeling drowsy and groggy for the rest of the day. Sleep deprivation has a close link with high risks of obesity and weight gain, experts explain.
Restricting the body from getting enough sleep can alter the endocannabinoid levels, which are chemical signals responsible for influencing the brain’s reward system and appetite. Another study also showed the exact same results.
Based on these reports, growing evidence from both epidemiological and laboratory studies indicate that lack of sleep is a risk factor for obesity. Sleep is a key modulator of glucose metabolism and neuroendocrine function.
Therefore, sleep loss can cause endocrine and metabolic alterations. Such as reduced glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, elevated ghrelin levels, cortisol concentration, increased appetite, and hunger. Those who are sleep-deprived have a higher chance of piling a few extra pounds.
Optimal Sleep for Male & Female: How Much Is Enough?
Both men and women have the same needs for sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults, regardless of gender, should opt for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Those who are younger, like children and adolescents, will require more sleep.
In today’s society, 6 to 7 hours seem like something you can get by on. But, the truth is, they are a recipe for sleep deprivation. For the system to function properly, the body needs proper rest. Data show that women are getting more sleep than men.
Based on a large-scale study, the overall difference in sleep varied from 5 to 28 minutes. However, women tend to have poorer quality of sleep and experience more sleep fragmentations. Both the quality and quantity of sleep can affect the weight loss process.
How Does Sleeplessness Impacts Hormones and Energy Levels?
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on hormone levels. And hormone fluctuations can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. So, you will be stuck in a vicious cycle. Basically, when the hormones are too high or low, like with pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycle, women become susceptible to sleeping problems.
This imbalance is making people feel exhausted. They can’t find the energy to do any physical activity, let alone focus on their weight loss process. Since sleeplessness impacts the way the system processes glucose, it makes it difficult for the body to use its energy.
How Exactly Is the Lack of Sleep Making You Gain Weight?
The key to its effect lies in the two hormones, leptin, and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that lets the body know when to stop eating. But, sleeplessness forces the system to produce less leptin. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is the hormone that lets the system know when to eat. Sleep-deprived individuals have high ghrelin levels. So, they tend to overeat. Plus, the metabolism gets slower, which adds more fuel to the fire. That’s why weight gain becomes a serious problem.
What Can You Do to Get More Sleep?
Restless nights will make you feel drained in the morning. To optimize your quality of sleep, there are a couple of tactics you can try. People like to use sleep aids, products, and lifestyle changes that can get the job done. Of course, everyone is different. So, you should use the option that works best for your body. Here are a couple of sleep aid choices you might want to try.
1. Shift Your Priorities
Adjust your sleeping schedule to suit your needs. According to experts, you should go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Especially on weekends. When you leave enough time in your schedule for sleep, you will be able to function much better in the morning. The best way to do that is to plan ahead.
2. Skip the Long Naps and Heavy Meals
One of the most common mistakes people make is taking long naps and eating heavy meals right before bed. The long nap will compromise your quality of sleep, so opt for a 20 min nap instead. The meal puts a lot of strain on the metabolism and can cause tummy aches. So, a light snack is a more preferred option.
3. Take a Supplement
Many supplements can provide the body with calming properties and a sufficient dose of nutrients to aid with sleep. Like the Sleep by Chemix from SpartanSuppz. This completely natural sleep aid supplement can provide restful sleep, adequate energy, and a mood boost.
This particular product is packed with beneficial ingredients capable of reducing the anxiety and cortisol levels that affect your quality of sleep. People turn to supplements when anxiety and stress are the reason for their sleeplessness. So, whenever you go to bed, you can rest with ease.
4. Drop the Alcohol and Coffee Before Bed
Research indicates that patients in alcohol treatment experienced insomnia rates of 25% to 72%. That means the possibility of not getting enough sleep from alcohol is very high.
Alcohol can decrease REM sleep and trigger sleep disturbances during the night. Those who drink right before bed tend to have insomnia symptoms. When they wake up, they keep feeling sleepy and drowsy for the entire day.
Caffeine is another problem. This is a powerful stimulant that keeps the body awake. When you pair it with alcohol, which acts as a sedative, it kick starts the effects of the stimulants. Those who are diagnosed with alcohol dependence have much higher rates of sleep disturbance than the general population.
5. Work With Your Surroundings
The perfect sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool. If you really want a good shut-eye, then you must work on your surroundings. By creating this kind of environment, you can boost the odds of deep sleep.
Remove the distractions (noise, devices, heat, light) or anything that might wake you up in the middle of the night. If you live in crowded or bright areas, you might want to consider using blackout curtains or earplugs. Anything that can create that perfect environment.
People underestimate the impact of good sleep. Especially when they are trying to lose weight. But, unless you give your body the rest it deserves, you can’t expect to reach and maintain your weight loss goals. Now that you know the best ways to solve this problem, you can get back to your fitness routine. Don’t forget to consult with a doctor or a specialist if your sleep is difficult to manage. Sometimes you may need expert help to get your health on the right track.