Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

Sleep Deprivation and Weight GainWhen we don’t get enough sleep, we sometimes wake up with headaches, migraines, lightheadedness, and exhaustion. But what we don’t realize is the effects that lack of sleep can have on us physically and physiologically. One of those physiological effects that can affect us physically is weight gain. In this article we will dive into whether or not lack of sleep can ultimately affect our weight.

Effects of Lack Sleep

For an average adult, it is recommended that that they receive 6-8 hours of constant sleep a night, which is a sufficient amount of time for recovery. But the reality is, we don’t get that much sleep due to children, sleep conditions, health conditions and work. But when we consistently get less than 6 hours of sleep a night for one week, studies have shown an average weight gain of 2lbs. But how does that happen if you’re sleeping and not eating? More studies have shown that when you’re sleep deprived, your body’s physiology is thrown off. Sleep deprivation causes a hormonal change within your body. You may not feel or see the effects of it right away but there are lasting effects due to the hormonal changes. Within these hormonal changes, the hormone Leptin that regulates appetite and hunger is reduced and the hormone Ghrelin that triggers the feeling of hunger is increased. With the decrease in Leptin and the increase of Ghrelin, you are now in a hungrier state, which can lead to over-eating. In addition to this hormonal change, your body’s cravings change. You are now craving more sugary, fatty, greasy foods.

Sleep Benefits

Due to the lack of sleep, you are now lacking rational thinking because your body isn’t in peak state to make the best decisions. You are more likely to act impulsively by eating junk food because that’s what you’re craving. Studies have also shown that due to the increase in Ghrelin, you are more likely to over eat the next day and eat more than your recommended overall calorie intake.

Sleep Deprivation Treatment in Los Angeles

To treat sleep deprivation, you should see a physician that not only specializes in sleep medicine but also in weight management so that they can properly evaluate and diagnose you and your symptoms. During the evaluation, your doctor may find that the reason you are sleep deprived is because you may have Sleep Apnea or poor sleep practices. Sleep Apnea is when you have episodes in your sleep where you are lacking oxygen due to the cessation of breathing which in return causes less oxygen into your blood stream reducing the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep practices can affect your sleep because if you are on your cell phone or watching television before you fall asleep, your mind is overly stimulated and now you are in a fight or flight state when you should be in a relaxed state.

Changing your sleep practices is as simple as not being on your phone for at least 30 minutes before going to bed or not watching television to “fall asleep”. To check for Sleep Apnea, you can contact a physician with a specialty in sleep medicine to prescribe you an “at home” sleep study, which is done in the convenience of your own home, to determine if you have Sleep Apnea. Contact our Los Angeles office to learn more about sleep medicine.