How sleep habits can affect weight
Original Article By: Tufts University
About one in three adults in the United States report that they don't get enough sleep, which is a problem that can lead to a variety of health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health problems, injuries, decreased productivity, and death. It also appears that not getting enough sleep is linked to an increased risk of obesity, especially in children. Sleep is a modifiable risk factor that can be improved to improve health.
While it is known that there is a link between a sleep deficit and obesity, scientists are still trying to determine the underlying biological mechanisms that might explain this relationship between sleep and weight. Lack of sleep can lead to less energy to be physically active, which can lead to burning fewer calories. Staying up late can also give us more time to consume calories, and it can be easy to fall into the trap of eating to get the energy to stay awake when we're tired. Research has also shown that people tend to consume more calories when their sleep is restricted. Additionally, people who are sleep-restricted may choose foods that are of poorer quality compared to people who are not sleep-restricted.
Furthermore, there is a link between lack of sleep and greater insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain. Disruptions in our natural circadian rhythms are another factor that may be correlated to higher body weight, although it is not yet clear whether there is a direct link. Lastly, stress may play a role in the relationship between sleep and weight. Low-quality sleep can promote stress and vice versa. When most individuals are stressed, they are less likely to seek out nutrient-dense foods and are more drawn to comfort foods that are often higher in sugar and salt content.
To improve sleep quality and quantity, try to avoid caffeine in the second half of the day, avoid eating too close to bedtime, engage in physical activity during the day, and unwind directly before bed by avoiding activities that may disturb sleep, such as exercise, computer games, stimulating TV shows, and other screens.
Tufts University. (2023, January 12). How Sleep Habits Can Affect Weight. Neuroscience News. Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://neurosciencenews.com/sleep-obesity-22234/
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