Hidden Culprits that Sabotage Weight Loss – The Sleep Factor
Some dieters who are cutting calories and increasing physical activity continue to experience a resistance to dropping the extra pounds. One explanation may lie in their sleep habits. As wild as the idea sounds, substantial medical evidence suggests some intriguing links between lack of sleep and weight gain.
According to a study reported by USA Today, Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone (ghrelin) and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full (leptin). The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain.
ScienceDaily (May 23, 2009), also reports that there appears to be a link between sleep and weight control, with some studies indicating that sleep disruption can increase weight gain and others that diet affects sleep. Victor Uebele and colleagues, at Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, have now provided further evidence to support this association by showing that T-type calcium channels regulate body weight maintenance and sleep in mice.
The regulation of leptin, a hormone released by the fat cells that signals satiety to the brain and as a result suppresses appetite, is significantly dependent on sleep duration. After 6 days of sleep restriction to 4 hours per night, leptin levels in a study group were markedly decreased, particularly during the nighttime1.
In a later study, the levels of ghrelin, a peptide that is secreted by the stomach and stimulates appetite, were measured with the levels of leptin after 2 days of sleep limitation to 4 hours per night2. The subjects measured their levels of hunger and appetite at regular intervals. Sleep restriction was linked with reductions in leptin (the appetite suppressant) and elevations in ghrelin (the appetite stimulant) and increased hunger and appetite, especially an appetite for foods with high-carbohydrate contents.
This data suggest that sleep may be beneficial in the fight against obesity. These findings, presented at the 2006 American Thoracic Society International Conference, showed that women who slept 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (an increase of 33 pounds or more) and 15% more likely to become obese over the course of the 16-year study, compared to those who slept 7 hours a night.
Stress, hormones, bad sleep habits and a long list of other factors may attribute to sleep deprivation. Therefore, if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep try the following tips:
– Go to bed and get up at the same time every day
– Create a sleep routine to help signal your body and mind that it’s time to shut down.
– Get regular exercise but do not exercise too near to bedtime as it can keep you awake.
– Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime. An alcoholic drink might help you wind down, but it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
– Eat your evening meal at least two hours before you go to bed.
– Avoid over-stimulating television, radio, movies, or online information just before bed.
– Keep your bedroom to your personal comfort level.
– Reserve your bed for sleeping. Avoid watching TV, reading the newspaper, or work reports to bed.
– Deal with stressful chores earlier in the day or evening. It may be harder to relax and go to sleep if you handle disturbing tasks just before bedtime.
– If you can’t get to sleep within 20 minutes after you go to bed, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, try reading, drinking a cup of warm milk, or listening to calming music.
Sometimes getting more sleep is not as easy as it sounds. There are many additional causes for insomnia (hormones, work schedules, travel etc.) that could make getting a full night sleep next to impossible for some people.
If all else fails, Leptin sensitivity and may addressed with the assistance of the only known clinically tested supplement that assists with your body’s production of, and sensitivity to, this single most important hormone in the fat-loss equation.
Additionally, in the August 2007 issue of The Journal of Endocrinology, a research paper was published which states: “the hCG hormone significantly stimulates the secretion of the pro-adipogenic factor, leptin, from human adipose tissue.” No one deduced exactly how these two protein hormones interact however, it looks likely that leptin and hCG – together with insulin – work to determine the way the body both stores and burns fat. So if you have an immediate need to lose 15 pounds or more the hCG Diet may help you lose the weight read more here.
Insomnia sucks. My thyroid condition had me battling this beast for years. I could be so exhausted during the day that I could easily fall asleep at a red light yet the minute I lay down to bed I would be wide awake for most of the night. While hormone imbalances need to be regulated for permanent relief. The tricks above helped me to regulate my sleep habits enough to get some zzz’s and hopefully you will benefit from them as well. If you have your story that you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Best Regards on Your Journey to Health & Fitness!
1 Spiegel K, Leproult R, L’Hermite-Baleriaux M, et al. Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympatho-vagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol and TSH. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89:5762-5771. Abstract
2 Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, et al. Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels: elevated ghrelin levels and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:846-850. Abstract