The Link Between Insomnia & Weight Gain
Do you always feel hungry so that you give in to the temptation to keep snacking? It could be that you are not hungry at all but actually suffering from sleep deprivation. There is increasing evidence that chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of weight gain. At the same time, if you are overweight or obese then you are more likely to suffer from insomnia.
Obesity/overweight rates in the United States have skyrocketed to 66% of adults
According to Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep: "When you're sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin, a hormone that tells you to eat more, and less leptin, which signals you to stop eating." For example people who sleep only four hours a night are more likely to choose high-carb, sugary and starchy foods over healthier picks, a recent University of Chicago study found.
James Maas, PhD, a sleep researcher at Cornell University and the author of Power Sleep, points to increasing evidence that chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of weight gain. Maas also blames those same two hormones: leptin, which helps the brain sense when you're full, and ghrelin, which triggers hunger. The less sleep you get, the lower your leptin levels - and the higher your ghrelin. He says: "Many people think they're hungry when they're actually sleepy. Instead of a snack, they need some shut-eye."
The opposite of weight gain is weight loss
- Eating certain healthy foods calms your nervous system and triggers a sleep-inducing hormonal response, helping you rest better at night.
- Staying in bed longer or having a short nap during the day can actually keep you from gaining weight. The less sleep you get, the less efficiently your appetite-regulation system works.
Weight problems? Work on any sleep deprivation or insomnia issues at the same time.
Interesting facts to know
Facts about sleep from James Maas appear in his book "Sleep for Success” co-authored by Cornell graduate student Rebecca S. Robbins.
Most people overestimate the amount they sleep each night by nearly one hour;
If you fall asleep within five minutes, you are sleep deprived, since the fully rested person takes 20 minutes to fall asleep;
Women sleep less soundly with a partner than men do.
Every additional hour of sleep reduces a child's risk of obesity by 9 percent;
One drink of alcohol on six hours of sleep has the same effect on one's ability to drive a car as three to four martinis on eight hours of sleep;
Most high school and college students get 2.5 hours less sleep per night than recommended. Grades in high school and college are directly related to sleep length.