Sleep and weight are like a double edge sword. Less sleep will cause you to gain weight and gaining weight will cause you to sleep less. Since everyone wants to get a better night sleep, we need to cut those tight bonds so that our overall health and mental state to improve.
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With our busy fast-paced lives, we tend to take on more commitments than we want. As well as, being stressed all the time. This lifestyle is not good for our bodies when we want to have a better lifestyle. In our previous article, lack of sleep can lead to chronic illness and loss of productivity. Not even that, Japan hold the number one spot of less sleep with 5 hours and less; while the U.S. holds the number two spot with 6 hours and less.
So, when we don’t get enough sleep due to causative factors, two major hormones in our body are affected and not in a good way either. It is our pituitary glands and our hormonal cortisol that get affected when we don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Our pituitary glands are the master controller to all our hormones and are sensitive when we don’t get enough sleep. When we actually get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, our pituitary glands release our growth and thyroid hormones as well as suppressing the stress hormone cortisol.
But in today’s society, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American sleeps only about seven hours per night-while other sleep five to six hours per night on a regular basis. With these studies, our body will be more or less in a constant state of partial sleep deprivation. Or if you have an anxious mind or have mental health issues, partial sleep deprivation can lead to chronic sleep deprivation. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to elevated cortisol in the evening, a crucial time for the levels should be diminishing.
When our cortisol levels get too high, we can develop insulin resistance, thus leading to weight gain and the high risk for type 2 diabetes. Chronic sleep deprivation can also change your growth hormone release. Instead of sending out one large pulse of growth hormones as soon as our heads hit the pillow, our bodies send out two small pulses, one before we go to bed and one after, thus leading us to have sleep deprivation. The one large pulse is responsible for the exposure of our tissues and reducing our glucose tolerance.
When we don’t get enough sleep throughout the day, the fat cells can’t handle the insulin in our bodies and will drop as much as 30 percent. When our cells resist insulin in our bodies, our blood sugar goes up and the excess sugar we produce is stored in our bodies as fat. This is dangerous to our health because not only we will gain the weight, but we will be at the risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. According to the CDC, 11.1 percent, adults who snooze less than 7 hours per night have type 2 diabetes, while 8.6 percent of adults who snooze more than 7 hours per night may already have the disease.
One study stated that, people who snooze less tend to be heavier than people who sleep the recommended amount. The study looked at the younger age group and discovered that short sleep duration appears independently associated with weight gain. And the CDC also stated, 33 percent of adults who snooze less than 7 hours are obese, while 26.5 percent of adults who sleep more than 7 hours are obese as well. But the question still remains, why do we gain more weight when we snooze less?
The answer is that our hormones are the ones that get affected the most when we don’t get enough sleep. Hence why we get the late-night munchies. When we are supposed to get our full 8 hours of sleep, our bodies release hormone leptin, which regulates how satiated we feel, and releases hormone ghrelin, which stimulates our appetite. So, when our hormone leptins go down and ghrelins go up, our minds think that we are very hungry and that we need to get up to satisfy that hunger with carbohydrates, thus making us loose those few extra minutes of sleep. So, it’s not your willpower that is making you wake up to eat at around 2 a.m., it is your lack of sleep that is causing the imbalance in your body.
Like we stated in the beginning, sleep and weight are like a double edge sword. Being overweight or obese can keep you from getting enough sleep as well. There are some weight-related issues like, sleep apnea, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and arthritis that can be an issue from getting those recommended snoozes.
Sleep apnea is very common for obese or overweight adults. When we have sleep apnea, our airways collapse or is blocked when we snooze. Our breathing gets very shallow or even stop while you sleep and can last for a few seconds to a couple of minutes or even longer.
We do wake up with a choking noise or snort then we go back to sleep, but when it’s the day time we are at risk for daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea can be treated with breathing devices but major lifestyle changes can help you lose this medical condition.
When you are suffering from COPD, you will notice a shortness of breath and have more trouble sleeping. People with COPD may be overweight or obese can actually exercise to combat this condition. However, you must consult with your doctor if you want to change your lifestyle and fix this condition.
Painful, arthritic joints can keep you up at night. Granted that there are anti-inflammatory and pain medication that may help you sleep; but if you are overweight or obese taking those medications, they will add on more problems like digestive discomforts or a dependence.
Here at Injury Medical Clinic, we do consult with our patients about the importance of exercising and eating healthy to assist whatever ailments they may have. Whether it is stress or medical conditions, we strive to make our patients feel good.
In conclusion, sleep is highly important and should be on the top of the list for a better lifestyle as well as placing weight in second. Granted with our busy work schedules, and fast-pace lifestyles, we ignore sleep and we gain the weight. If you have any sleep conditions like COPD or sleep apnea, please seek professional help to get it under control. But if you change your lifestyle a little bit by eating right, focusing on mental health, exercising, and sleeping at the appropriate times; not only your mood changes but your body will heal tremendously and you will feel like you can conquer the world.
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