How Sleep Deprivation Can Help Put on the Pounds

Diabetes can make you feel more tired than normal for a number of reasons… people with Type 2 diabetes, especially if they are overweight, may unknowingly suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, caused by the narrowing of the upper airways.

What wouldn’t you give to sleep like you did when you were a child? Do you remember how your Mom would coerce you to bed at exactly 8pm, telling you how you would grow taller the next day if you had enough sleep? Then, college came along, and your body adapted to long hours of studying (or was it partying?) and 2 to 3 hours of sleep each day. Now at the workplace, where a typical day means 8 or 9 hours of labor, 3 hours of socialization, 3 hours of housework and what’s left of the hours is devoted to other activities and sleep.

Do you would think your active 18-hour days would keep you fit and healthy? But no, you are still overweight, tired and almost always, hungry.

Why is this the case?

Studies have shown that there is a relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Since the main purpose of sleep is to recharge and renew our bodies, a lot of hormones that have something to do with energy and appetite are also affected.

Hormones like:

1. Dopamine and serotonin: If you sleep less hours, the body balances its hormone levels by making you crave sweet, sugary foods since these have the same dopamine-serotonin releasing effect.

2. Ghrelin: Ghrelln is an appetite stimulating hormone. Lack of sleep leads to excess release of this hormone which makes you feel hungry, even if you just ate.

3. Leptin: Leptin is called the satiety hormone. The body delays release of this hormone if you don’t get enough sleep.

Simply put, if your body does not get enough sleep, it feels like it’s artillery has not been stocked, therefore, it compensates by sending out signals to make you eat more so it can get more ammo. This is why adults who get less than 7 to 9 hours sleep have a hard time controlling their weight.

According to the American Diabetes Association, regular sleep loss leads us to have increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines and low-grade inflammation known to trigger insulin resistance and the development of Type 2 diabetes. As well, overweight people are at a high risk of developing sleep disorders like sleep apnea (a condition that causes temporary gaps between breaths while sleeping).

People who don’t get enough sleep during the night typically have low energy throughout the day… especially to exercise or prepare nutritious meals. So now you see that lack of sleep can affect weight gain and increase your risk in developing Type 2 diabetes.

Here are some tips to help you sleep better:

  • make your bedroom your sleep sanctuary
  • go to bed and wake up around the same time every day
  • start winding down about 2 hours before bed. Do not exercise, eat in excess or attend to something stressful
  • avoid stimulants like coffee or tea before going to bed

Sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity. Sleep recharges you both mentally and physically. You are better able to fight off stress when you are well rested. Most adults still need about 8 hours of sleep. There are many studies linking obesity and Type 2 diabetes.


8 Responses Leave a comment

Leave a Reply