Sleep and Your Weight

My research heavily focuses on sleep, and I love anything sleep related- whether reading about it, writing about it, or simply just sleeping! I often think that sleep is overlooked when trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle, and diet and exercise tend to be greatly focused on. This post is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of sleep and why you should get more of it, especially with a 24/7 type lifestyle!

Sleep has been an increasingly researched field in the past couple of years, especially looking at the relationship between sleep and weight gain. With an alarming rise in obesity levels, the interesting observation that sleep duration has greatly decreased in the past decade led to numerous research studies identifying possible relationships. Multiple studies have shown that short sleep duration is significantly correlated with BMI (body mass index) and even fat mass in both adults and children. Interestingly the relationship is stronger in children, suggesting the possibility of children being more sensitive to sleep deprivation.

The connection between sleep, BMI, and health is extremely complicated, with lots of webs that still need to get untangled with future studies. Interestingly, studies have shown that appetite hormones are dysregulated after sleep restriction causing an increase in appetite and cravings of fattier and carb rich foods. But sleep can impact your health independently of BMI, such as increasing your risk to developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Sleep loss causes a hormonal adaptation in your body, increasing your stress hormones and sugar levels.

But how much sleep is enough? That’s a great and difficult question. Although there are guidelines for different age groups, they are just that – guidelines. It is hard to study the number of hours needed as everyone requires a different amount. Best tip is to identify how many hours you need to wake up with no struggle, and keep that consistent (certainly the hardest part).

Moral of this post? Sleep could potentially help with weight loss, and although results might not be drastic, if combined with proper eating and exercising habits it might help you. If you are simply interested in a healthy lifestyle, it will ultimately lead you to a healthier and happier you.

I would love to hear your comments/questions.

-Sleep tight.

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