Health & Wellness

Lack of Sleep Linked to Weight Gain

By Tawnya Manion | October 1, 2012

lack of sleep linked to obesity

Photo: Misspixels

As the percentage of overweight and obese people in the United States continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important for the public to understand how to obtain optimal health. Though diet and exercise are at the utmost importance when helping a person maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, other factors, such as stress, metabolism, genetics, and sleep also contribute to a person’s predisposition and capability to take pounds off of their frame or avoid diseases. According to a study published in The American Journal of Human Biology, getting enough sleep at night may ensure that a person eats when they are hungry and stops when they are full. Therefore, poor sleeping habits directly effect appetite control and glucose metabolism.

The research released shows that the hormones, ghrelin, which send signals to the brain when the body needs food, and leptin, which informs the encephalon when you have eaten enough, do not secrete properly in people that possess deficient sleep patterns. According to Dr. Kristen Knutson, from the University of Chicago, “these findings show that sleeping poorly can increase a person’s risk of developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.” Consequently, our fast paced sleep deprived society pays little attention to how our slumber patterns affect our energy, and as a result we miss out on the health benefits a good night’s sleep provides to our overall wellbeing.

Setting your evening up to ensure quality restoration takes little time and effort, and can dramatically improve your health and disposition. Creating healthy sleep patterns will allow you to feel better throughout the day. Start by setting a sleep schedule and sticking with it.  A sleep timetable ensures that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This will reinforce your body’s sleep wake cycle and prevent you from being jolted out of slumber by an alarm. Another great tip to ensure that you acquire an adequate amount of shut eye includes creating a bedtime ritual. Recreating the same acts each night signals the body that it’s time to wind down. Relaxing pastimes such as listening to tranquil music, taking a shower or bath, or reading a book assists the body in transitioning between wakefulness and drowsiness. However, it is important to note that the use of electronic devices may interfere with the bodies ability to fall asleep. Lastly, make your bedroom an ideal room for sleeping by making it cool, dark, and quiet. Think about using earplugs, a fan, room-darkening shades, comfortable pillows, or any other contrivances that will aid you in falling asleep.

Photo: wader

The important message this study delivers is that sleep deprivation and weight gain have a cause and effect relationship. All constituents of a healthy lifestyle must be maintained, and if one facet becomes an inferior concern the other well-being components will suffer and not work to your benefit. So, get the minimum of seven hours of sleep per night to ensure that you do not fall victim to easily preventable weight gain.

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