Sleep More-Weigh Less

Our sleep duration is indirectly proportional with the obesity increase in our society. Although, we are all unique human beings with unique needs, the fact that we don’t sleep as much as we did 2 decades ago is a fact, and it is contributing to our weight increase. (National Sleep Foundation. 2005 Sleep in America Pol)

What exactly is happening in our body when we don’t sleep enough?

According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, a short sleep duration changes the metabolic hormone production which regulates appetite and energy expenditure. The two opposing appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin was measured.

The hormone leptin, released by our fat cells signals the hypothalamus about our fat level storage. Low leptin level sends a signal of energy deficit.
The hormone ghrelin is released by our stomach. Our ghrelin level is highest when we are hungry. Our ghrelin level decreases with food consumption.

Low ghrelin levels and high leptin levels in our bodies are detected when we don’t have enough sleep. As a result, we are hungry and we crave high energy density food during our waking hours. Therefore, short sleeping time is associated with a high chance of obesity.

Sleep effects our energy balance

Increasing our sleeping time alone is not a sufficient solution for reducing our weight, and now there is enough evidence that sleep has an effect on our energy balance which ultimately help us to regulate our weight successfully.

Good sleep can be promoted by removing electronic gadgets from the bedroom and following a regular retiring time at the evenings. It is especially important to children and adolescents, since a good night sleep will promote their health, education, academic performance along with a reduced chance for obesity.

Increasing our sleeping time alone is not a sufficient solution for reducing our weight, and now there is enough evidence that sleep has an effect on our energy balance which ultimately help us to regulate our weight successfully.

Good sleep can be promoted by removing electronic gadgets from the bedroom and following a regular retiring time at the evenings. It is especially important to children and adolescents, since a good night sleep will promote their health, education, academic performance along with a reduced chance for obesity.

  • Go to bed at a regular bedtime
  • Have a regular wake times
  • Have a quiet, dark and relaxing bedroom atmosphere with regulated temperature
  • Have a comfortable bed that is used for sleeping and not for activities like reading, watching television, playing video games and listening to music
  • Have your daily physical activity more than 3 hours of bedtime
  • Remove televisions, computers and gadgets from the bedroom (keep your phone at least 2 feet from your head)
  • Avoid eating large portions close to bedtime

“Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion.” -Audrey Niffenegger

Sleep well for hormone balance

It is still a question how our brain sends the signals to release these hormones caused by lack of sleeping. However, based on numerous studies, the lack of sleep does have a negative physiological effect on our bodies. Go to bed early this evening and sleep well!

(Reference: US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health. 2006 The Link Between Short Sleep Duration and Obesity: We Should Recommend More Sleep to Prevent Obesity) Anita Saldana ©2016