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Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, new evidence shows under 6 hours of sleep can impact appetite regulation and increase BMI.

 

Can Lack of Sleep Make You Fat?

Best-Tips-for-Good-SleepUniversity of Chicago (Illinois, USA) researchers suggest that inadequate sleep may be linked to obesity. Kristen Knutson and colleagues report that a lack of sleep can impact appetite regulation, impair glucose metabolism and increase blood pressure.  The team accumulated evidence from experimental and observational studies of sleep. Observational studies revealed cross-sectional associations between getting fewer than six hours sleep and increased body mass index (BMI) or obesity.

 

The studies revealed how signals from the brain which control appetite regulation are impacted by experimental sleep restriction. Inadequate sleep impacts secretion of the signal hormones ghrelin, which increases appetite, and leptin, which indicates when the body is satiated. This can lead to increased food intake without the compensating energy expenditure.

 

Can lack of sleep make you fat? A new paper which reviews the evidence from sleep restriction studies reveals that inadequate sleep is linked to obesity. The research, published in a special issue of the The American Journal of Human Biology, explores how lack of sleep can impact appetite regulation, impair glucose metabolism and increase blood pressure.

 

“Obesity develops when energy intake is greater than expenditure. Diet and physical activity play an important part in this, but an additional factor may be inadequate sleep,” said Dr Kristen Knutson, from the University of Chicago. “A review of the evidence shows how short or poor quality sleep is linked to increased risk of obesity by de-regulating appetite, leading to increased energy consumption.”

 

Dr Knutson accumulated evidence from experimental and observational studies of sleep. Observational studies revealed cross-sectional associations between getting fewer than six hours sleep and increased body mass index (BMI) or obesity.

 

The studies revealed how signals from the brain which control appetite regulation are impacted by experimental sleep restriction. Inadequate sleep impacts secretion of the signal hormones ghrelin, which increases appetite, and leptin, which indicates when the body is satiated. This can lead to increased food intake without the compensating energy expenditure.

 

“In the United States 18% of adults are estimated to get less than 6 hours of sleep, which equates to 53 million short sleepers who may be at risk of associated obesity,” said Knutson. “Poor sleeping patterns are not random and it is important to consider the social, cultural and environmental factors which can cause inadequate sleep so at-risk groups can be identified.”

 

The evidence suggests the association between inadequate sleep and higher BMI is stronger in children and adolescents. It also shows that sleep deficiency in lower socioeconomic groups may result in greater associated obesity risks.

 

The majority of the studies Dr Knutson examined came from Western countries, which highlights the need for more research to understand sleep’s role in disease risk. However other research papers in the special issue focus on obesity in the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, and Brazil.

 

“These findings show that sleeping poorly can increase a person’s risk of developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease,” concluded Knutson. “Future research should determine whether efforts to improve sleep can also help prevent the development of these diseases or improve the lives of patients with these conditions.

 

Long & Short Term Effects of Sleep

Just like oil does for your car, your body needs sleep to function at its best ability. Missing a couple hours here and there can in fact be hazardous to your health and your weight. Sleep regenerates everything in the body- from the immune system to the digestive system to the neurons in the brain. With adequate sleep you feel better, you’re more alert, you have more energy, better concentration and generally more happier.

 

Short-Term Effects (short periods of sleep loss)

• Headaches

• Libido

• Immune system

• Memory

• Ability to think and process information

 

Long-Term Effects (long periods of sleep loss, overtime)

• Metabolism slows down

• Weight gain

• Hypertension

• Diabetes

• Heart Disease

• Stroke

 

Why Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

Apparently,when we limit sleep, our bodies make more stress hormones. For example, restricting sleep to four hours a night also has been shown to cause hormonal changes that make us hungry. Sleep also affects the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. For example, lack of sleep makes us too tired to exercise and more vulnerable to overeating.

 

Sleep Deprivation Can Be Unhealthy

Lack of sleep is also associated with increased risk of illness. Sleep apnea, for example is associated with glucose metabolic disorders and insulin resistance syndrome.

 

Higher Risk of Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Being asleep for less than six hours per night (or more than nine hours a night) is linked to higher risks of diabetes and pre-diabetes, both diseases of high blood sugar, according to scientists at Boston University School of Medicine.

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