Sleep and weight. Is there a correlation? Have you given up on a good night of rest? Women are empathetic, caring, and always put others before themselves, and that’s something to admire – but not when it compromises your own wellbeing. When women find themselves not having enough time in the day, sleep is often the first thing that is sacrificed. You shouldn’t be adjusting your sleep schedule to fit your hectic life, but rather, you should be adjusting your life to accommodate a healthy sleep schedule. Without sufficient sleep, risks for a variety of health issues such as cancer and dementia increase greatly. Another huge thing it impacts, which was our focus of last week’s Let’s Chat, is the connection between sleep and weight. Dr. Egan and Dr. Bitner got to the heart of it and here’s a recap! (Watch the full episode at the bottom of this post.)
The chart above from Oxford University Press shows a fairly strong correlation between sleep and mean age-adjusted body weight. Individuals who achieved an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night had the lowest weights consistently throughout a study gathering data over 16 years. It’s not solely the amount of sleep we get that matters, however. The quality of uninterrupted sleep is just as important. So, let’s dive into the reasons why we don’t sleep well.
Sleep and Weight – The Hunger Hormone
Not only does lack of sleep make it harder to balance emotions (anyone who’s stayed up all night and cried over dropping their food can tell you this), but it causes actual hormonal changes. Ghrelin, the hormone that tells our body it should be hungry, goes up, while the production of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full and satisfied, goes down. This not only makes us consume more calories in general, but also encourages us to make food choices that are higher in processed sugar, carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats.
Being sleep deprived shifts the way our mind sends signals to our fat cells. While we may have been in a weight loss or maintenance mode, the body notices it isn’t functioning and enters survival mode, making it more likely to store fat. When in a state of stress, we are also less likely to exercise and build muscle.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Weight
There are medical conditions that can make sleeping more difficult. Obstructive Sleep Apnea blocks the airway from the trachea and as a result, we spend the night perpetually disturbed, never achieving a healthy REM cycle. Thankfully, a device called a CPAP machine can help to deliver oxygen and keep the airway open. While it may seem like a hassle, the complications that sleep apnea can cause you are worth avoiding! With sleep apnea, even though you may feel like you have had a good night’s sleep, chances are you haven’t. The continual sleep disruptions lead to fatigue. As a result, fatigue leads to a lack of motivation to exercise, which can lead to weight gain.
5 Tips to Better Sleep
- Number one is to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours. The importance can’t be understated. If this means sacrificing tv time, it’s more than worth it.
- Tip number two is environment matters, so make your bedroom a cozy place to sleep. This is where the investment in your rest comes into play! Buy those nice sheets, get a fan or white noise machine if you need to. Ensure that the space is dark.
- Our third tip is to separate daily activities from our bed. In other words, don’t work in bed, don’t eat in bed, don’t do crossword puzzles in bed. Your bed should be for sex and sleep only!
- Fourth, find a way to declutter your mind. A racing mind is a mind that won’t sleep. Meditation and metered breathing are helpful – that’s why it’s included as one of our SEEDS®!
- Lastly, if you wake up and are unable to fall back to sleep, get out of bed and create a safe, quiet space.
5 Questions to ask your healthcare practitioner
If you can’t see us at true. and live in another state or country, we always share questions you can ask your healthcare provider to help you get the answers you need.
- What is my phase of ovarian function?
- What is the treatment for night sweats?
- Are any of my habits preventing me from optimizing my sleep?
- Am I a candidate for a sleep study?
- Am I a candidate for weight-loss medications?
We want you to come to us with any and all sleep issues here at true. if you are in the area. As one of the fundamental pillars of SEEDS®, we recognize how important healthy sleep patterns are to everyday life and the regulation of the rest of your body’s systems. Our bodies need recharging every night. So put on some cozy pajama bottoms, have a cup of tea, practice gratitude thoughts, and get some rest! You deserve better than to go through life on low battery mode. We’re here to help!