The Link Between Weight Gain and Sleeplessness

If you have insomnia, you might also suffer from a seemingly unexplainable gain in weight. Of course, if you try to relieve the discomfort of not sleeping by reaching into the fridge for a snack each night, the reason why you have piled on the pounds is obvious, or is it? There might be a different explanation for your urge to overeat other than boredom or the blues.

Research reveals that the two main hormones responsible for regulating appetite and weight, ghrelin and leptin, are produced in different amounts during the night in people who sleep well and those who do not. Leptin, which is reduced in people with insomnia, informs the body that not enough calories have been consumed when it is in short supply. The result is that hunger is promoted. In addition, ghrelin increases when you do not get enough sleep, which results in the urge to eat. Therefore, it is not surprising that you have put on weight if you have not had adequate shut-eye.

It is thought that you can regulate leptin and ghrelin production significantly by making lifestyle changes, including exercise and diet. However, even if your weight gain has nothing to do with hormone imbalances, you will probably find that you sleep better, and lose weight, if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

Countless people are unaware that their behaviors might contribute to sleep loss and thus weight gain. It is important to avoid too much sugar and carbohydrates in your diet if you want to be healthy. At the same time, reducing the consumption of such foods can help lower your chances of having leptin resistance. If you are resistant to leptin, the signal that you have had enough to eat will be blocked. You are more likely to overeat as a result.

Ghrelin tells you that you are hungry until your stomach is stretched by food. Eat small, calorie-laden snacks and you will not feel full, but you will get bigger. Consume a large bowl of soup before your dinner, and you will only want to eat a small amount of your main course because your stomach will already be full.

The most important way to deal with hormonal disruption is to carry out good sleep hygiene. Keep your body clock in order by dimming the lights a few hours before you turn in at night, and avoid mentally stimulating challenges such as computer usage or watching action-packed movies before bed. Furthermore, go to bed at a similar time each night and rise at a similar time each morning. Additionally, exercise in the first half of the day, and wind down gradually at night with relaxing, calming activities. Once you begin to sleep regularly, your hormones should become balanced all by themselves if sleeplessness was to blame for their disruption in the first place.

References:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain
http://psychcentral.com/news/2009/03/30/hormones-link-insomnia-and-weight-gain/5037.html
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/leptin-ghrelin-weight-loss

 

About bridget

bridget webber

Bridget Webber’s background rests in mental health, counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and art. She brings knowledge from her experiences into her writing and specializes in emotional wellness and the creation of, rather than search for, joy. You can catch up with her insights and musings on Twitter.

Twitter: @InsightManager

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