Sleep Deprivations Connection to Weight Gain, Increased Health Risk and Death

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How many of you have a tendency to stay up late and then eat too much before bed time? Do you wake up with little energy and then eat too much throughout the day?  Believe it or not there is a connection between long term sleepless nights, increased weight gain, disease and death.

Many are also unaware how sleep deprivation changes habits and behaviors and mood long term and how that increases other health risks. Most importantly, “the lack of sleep also changes the balance of hormones in your body, especially ghrelin and leptin. [Learn more about sleep deprivation and sleep products by clicking on the image]

Ghrelin spurs you to eat, and leptin tells you when to stop. When you are sleep-deprived, your body creates more ghrelin and less leptin; this leads to more eating, additional calories, and extra weight gain” (Brooks 2014).

“In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied? If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin” (Bouchez 2014). [Learn more about Lepin weight loss products Now. Click on the Image]

When you don’t sleep “for whatever reason” your body releases more ghrelin and continues to burn energy and you feel hungry. Instead of sleeping, you’re prone to eat more after diner and snack late into the evening and throughout the next day. During evening hours, especially after 8pm… This is the worse time to eat as the body’s metabolism is at its lowest metabolic burn rate.

Your weight gain nemesis may also be directly related to any number of health, or environmental, or relational conditions and/or situations causing sleepless nights. As such, if not addressed and resolved will lead to a continuance of unhealthy behavioral habits that increase health risk and continued sleepless nights.

People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don’t feel rested in the morning. Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression. “Sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression” (Tracey 2014). [Click on image for insomnia information]

“For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. Among children, sleeping less than 10 hours a night is associated with weight gain. Now a fascinating new study suggests that the link may be even more insidious than previously thought. Losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain” (Parker-Pope 2013).

“Perhaps the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over a period of time was presented by the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006. The study that included nearly 70,000 middle aged women specifically pointed out those women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night” (Menopot 2014).

Within fat cells there is a physiological response to metabolic hormonal imbalances caused by sleepless nights. In other words, studies show us the longer one goes without sleep causes fat cells to malfunction by preventing its release of stored energy. And for those that experience chronic sleep deprivation – the risk of diabetes, circulatory and cardio health risk increases.

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To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours. The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin “a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal.”

“High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin [tells you when to stop eating]. Brady suggests that if sleep-deprived cells are generally malfunctioning, this mechanism may also be disrupted, affecting weight gain” (Hamzelou 2012). [Click on the Buda to find diabetic treatment information and products]

Outside of environmental stressors and bad habits, there is a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea that causes many to lose sleep because of excessive snoring. Sleep apnea occurs during sleep and when muscle tissue is relaxed at the back of the throat in a way that partially occludes a clear airway. In some cases, as more weighted tissue is involved around the throat area, the structural airway integrity buckles and partially blocks the air passage. This buckling/blockage causes excessive snoring, lessens oxygen to the brain and is a cause of sleep deprivation and weight gain.

Those with sleep apnea repeatedly wake up because of snoring and occluded airway and May, or may not be consciously be aware of the problem. But in almost all cases, those with untreated sleep apnea rarely feel rested and are tired and hungrier throughout the day.

Sleep apnea is serious business because respiratory failure and other health risk have led to death. If you or spouse have a serious snoring problem, or stop breathing intermittently during sleep, or can’t sleep and have a difficult time with weight loss and are now obese, see a physician for referral to a sleep study test.

There is also a neurological condition that is not a mechanical breach or related to an overweight condition. Instead sleep apnea can occur due to the CNS (Central Nervous System) signaling the brain to stop breathing intermittently during sleep. This type of breathing interruption is less understood but can be treated in the same way as a mechanical blockage using a CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or dental device that keeps the airway open. Both mechanical and neurological medical conditions can also occur simultaneously. In any event, both can be medically treated.

Sleep Study Tests Will Show the Following Results: While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing. This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep. If the non-breathing episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  However, if one averages 30 non-breathing episodes per hour on average, and breathing stops for up to 10-second intervals between breaths, health risk increases and damage to the brain and heart may occur.

When we snore and wake up repeatedly, or get little sleep for whatever reason we don’t reap the benefit of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. While under REM our skeletal muscles are deeply relaxed and we dream and our food intake throughout the day is better regulated because our hormones and metabolism is refreshed, energized and balanced optimally.

It is especially important if you suffer from stress, anxiety, obesity, or respiratory disorder that causes sleepless nights, seek medical treatment. Treatment may include: CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), anti-anxiety, depression and/or behavioral therapy with, or without hormonal or other prescription drug treatment. If overweight you may also be tested for diabetes, heart and circulatory, etc., health problems.

Tests and treatment may include a sleep study test and thereafter – prescribed a CPAP, or other medical treatment to keep an open airway during sleep. [Learn more about sleep apnea and associated CPAP products by clicking on the image.

Regardless of what prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep and sustaining healthy body weight and achieving set fitness goals, it is possible to target the problem of your sleep deprivation and weight gain and reverse the course. Leading to improved health, fitness levels and wellbeing.

Works Cited and Article Resources,

Bouchez, Colette. “The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep.” Review. Web log post. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Brooks, Dominique W., MD, MBA. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Hamzelou, Jessica. “‘Tired’ Fat Cells Might Trigger Obesity.” NewScientist. Reed Business Information Ltd., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Menopot. “Insomnia and Weight Gain.” Insomnia and Weight Gain. Menopot, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Tracy, Natasha. “Depression and Sleep Disorders.” HealthyPlace. HealthyPlace, 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Sleep Apnea an insidious Angel of Death.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 23 July 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2014-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.

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This entry was posted in Diabetes, disease, hormone, Longevity, Men's Health, obesity, sleep apnea, Women's Health and tagged , , , , on by .

About Marc Woodard

As a fit healthy lifestyle author and consultant, retired corporate employee and retired Army officer, I've spent many years taking care of my career goals and financial security.  It is now my time to give something back to my community. Without a healthy mind, body and spirit it is really difficult to move forward to achieve great things in life. To share information is something everyone of us are capable of doing. And to share fitness and health related information with your children is the best thing you could do for them and your community. Saving the health of our nation one person at a time is our goal. Learn more about Marc Woodard @ LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/marc-woodard-94003930/ Good health to you and your family.

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