How Your Weight Affects Sleep

Your weight and your sleeping habits are interwoven. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours or more than nine hours have a tendency to gain weight. People who sleep seven or eight hours have a better opportunity for weight control. There are many reasons for this, starting with hormones.

Hormone Reactions

Leptin and ghrelin regulate hunger and the feelings of being full. It is the release of the hormone ghrelin that tells your brain that you need food. Leptin tells you when you have eaten enough. People who sleep short hours have an overload of ghrelin and they are short on leptin. This imbalance leads to weight gain.

A person who is sleepy may not have the energy to exercise and burn calories. Instead, he or she wants a full breakfast of pancakes or pastries along with coffee that has milk and sugar. The idea is that the big meal, especially one with sugar, will give a person energy.

This is usually not the case when the meal is loaded with refined sugar and other carbohydrates. These are not foods that stimulate the metabolism and burn calories. In fact, the big meal full or refined carbohydrates can make a person sluggish. Sweet, starchy foods interfere with the body’s ability to manufacture insulin and this may lead to Type II diabetes.

individuals may even experience a metabolism that slows down to conserve energy.

Dangerous Reactions

People who do not get enough sleep do not always react quickly to problems. They often feel tired with little or no interest in work. They may make bad decisions since activity in the brain’s frontal lobe is dulled. This is not the person who should operate a vehicle.

One of the bad decisions is late night snacking. This is part of the cycle that will keep people from sleeping if they experience indigestion. Rich food may make a person sleepy but he or she may wake up within an hour or two with acid reflux. Returning to peaceful sleep is often difficult while trying to ease heartburn.

Sleep Apnea

The problem of obstructive sleep apnea is common in overweight adults and people who smoke. There are several treatments for this condition including surgery or wearing a CPAP mask that delivers air to your lungs while you sleep.

Breathing is interrupted with sleep apnea. Muscles in the back of the throat do not always keep the airways open. This is often the snoring sound as the nose and throat open less than normal. People who carry excessive weight in the neck and trunk area are subject to this problem.

A person who snores repeatedly while sleeping may awaken after seven hours and still feel tired and sluggish. The oxygen deprivation may lead to heart disease and hypertension.

Helping Your Brain

Sleep is needed to regenerate brain cells and give your body a rest. Cells multiply while you sleep. New cells are made and old ones sent on to your waste system. Children grow during their sleeping hours.

Darkness may help your body relax but many people can sleep during the daylight hours. A comfortable bed with good support is important. Many overweight people find it easier to sleep in a sitting position since it puts less weight on the heart and lungs. This does not always lead to sound sleep.

Exercise and eliminating most sugar will help to control weight. Eating nutritious foods to maintain a healthy weight will lead to better sleep and more energy.


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