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lack of sleep and weight gain

Sleep requirements vary with age and are particularly affected by lifestyle and health. Researchers cannot ascertain the exact amount of sleep required by people of different ages. However, sleep requirements differ from person to person in the same age group.

There is a big difference between the amount of sleep a person can get and the amount needed to function optimally. For example, if someone is able to function on six or seven hours of sleep, it doesn’t mean that if someone spends an extra hour or two in bed he or she won’t feel much better and get more done.

New recommendations for daily sleep requirements for adults by the National Sleep Foundation include:

  • Younger Adults (18-25) – Sleep range is 7-9 hours

  • Adults (26-64) – Sleep range is 7-9 hours

  • Older Adults (65+) – Sleep range is 7-8 hours

Newborns, infants, toddlers, children and adolescents have higher daily sleep requirements, which vary depending on their age.

Sleep deprivation occurs when a person gets less sleep than is needed to stay alert and alert. People differ on how little sleep is needed to be considered sleep deprived. Some people, such as older adults, appear to be more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation, while others, especially children and young adults, are more vulnerable.

Science has linked lack of sleep to all kinds of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system. Observational studies also suggest a link between lack of sleep and obesity. Similar patterns have also been found in children and adolescents.

The following mechanisms have been found behind the link between lack of sleep and weight gain –

increase in ghrelin level

In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research in September 2008, it was found that one night of sleep deprivation increased ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in healthy men of normal weight, while morning serum leptin concentrations were unaffected. . Thus, the results provide further evidence for a disturbing effect of sleep deprivation on the endocrine regulation of energy homeostasis, which may result in weight gain and obesity in the long term.

Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the gut and is often referred to as the hunger hormone. It sends a signal of hunger to the brain. Therefore, it plays an important role in controlling calorie intake and body fat levels.

interference with carbohydrate metabolism

Lack of sleep interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes higher blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body fat storage. In one experiment, scientists disrupted sleep enough to prevent participants from entering deep sleep, but not enough to wake them completely. After these nights of deep sleep, the subjects’ insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance decreased by 25 percent.

growth hormone deficiency

Lack of sleep reduces levels of growth hormone – a protein that helps control the body’s ratio of fat and muscle. Experts estimate that 75 percent of human growth hormone is released during sleep. Deep sleep is the most restorative of all the stages of sleep. During this stage of sleep, growth hormone is released and works to restore and rebuild our bodies and muscles from the stresses of the day.

Increase in craving to eat high-calorie junk food

Sleep deprivation, even for one night, causes marked changes in the way our brains respond to high-calorie junk food. On days when people don’t get proper sleep, sugary foods like potato chips and sweets stimulate strong responses in a part of the brain that helps control the motivation to eat. But at the same time, they experienced a sharp decrease in activity in the frontal cortex, a high-level part of the brain where consequences are weighed and rational decisions are made.

Increase in cortisol

Researchers have found that lack of sleep increases levels of the hormone cortisol and other markers of inflammation.

Decreased resting metabolic rate

There is evidence that lack of sleep can lower the body’s resting metabolic rate. It is the number of calories expended by our body when we are at complete rest. It is affected by age, weight, height, gender and muscle mass. This needs further validation but one contributing factor appears to be that poor sleep can lead to muscle loss.

Bottom-line –

Apart from this, eating right and exercising regularly, getting good sleep is an important part of weight maintenance. Therefore, establishing healthy sleeping habits can help our body maintain a healthy weight.



Source by Dr. Pran Rangan

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