Getting enough sleep is challenging for many Americans. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than one-third of Americans report getting inadequate sleep on a regular basis. Chronic sleep deprivation has been correlated with a higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and mental health problems. It has also been associated with a higher risk of sustaining injuries and dying early. Another connection that has been found is between insufficient sleep and a higher risk for obesity.
The Relationship Between Sleep and Weight
The relationship between your weight and how much sleep you get per night is not well understood, and scientists are trying to determine what causes the relationship between them.
However, when you’re tired, you might not be physically active and thus burn fewer calories. Staying up too late at night also provides you with the opportunity to eat late-night snacks and consume additional categories. Research has also indicated that people tend to eat more food when they have not gotten enough sleep, and sleep-deprived people might choose lower-quality foods to snack on than those who get healthy amounts of sleep. Researchers have also found that those who do not get good-quality sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger-inducing hormone, and lower levels of leptin, the hormone that signals satiety.
Inadequate sleep has also been shown to have a relationship with developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a natural hormone that breaks down glucose and moves it out of the blood into the cells. If your cells are insulin-resistant, they can’t get enough energy and send signals to the brain. The brain then sends out hunger signals to the body, causing people to eat more food. Stress and sleep disruptions have also been associated with weight gain and might lead people to seek out comfort foods that are less healthful.
What to Watch For
If you have trouble falling asleep at night and regularly get less than seven to eight hours of sleep, you are not getting sufficient sleep. You should also pay attention if you wake up feeling as if you haven’t gotten enough rest, fall asleep when you don’t want to during the day, or feel tired throughout the day. These symptoms might indicate that you aren’t getting quality sleep at night even if you are sleeping for seven to eight hours. Sleeping too little or too much is linked to obesity.
If you have an underlying medical problem that affects your sleep, including restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, side effects from medication, pain, or insomnia, you should talk to a sleep specialist at Accent Sleep Solutions to determine the most appropriate treatment.
Some things you can try at home to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep include the following:
- Turn off television screens and computer screens for one to two hours before bedtime since research has shown that blue light from screens can interfere with your sleep cycle.
- Don’t drink caffeinated drinks during the evening.
- Limit alcohol during the evening.
- Try yoga and meditation to help you relax and unwind.
- Schedule regular bedtimes at night and begin preparing for bed an hour in advance.
- Don’t eat close to bedtime since it can cause you to experience heartburn that can interfere with sleep.
- Don’t exercise too close to your bedtime, but get plenty of physical activity earlier in the day.
Talk to Accent Sleep Solutions
If you are struggling with your sleep quality and have noticed that you have gained weight, your insufficient sleep might be contributing to your weight gain. For help with improving your sleep quality, contact Accent Sleep Solutions today for an appointment by calling (352) 271-5375.