Is the combination of lack of sleep and hormones the reason for your weight fluctuations?
Tired? Feeling an urge to eat more and exercise less? Maybe it’s not your self-control that’s to blame. If you find yourself eating more and too tired to exercise, you may want to learn more. *Important: read this Note below…
Many signals within the body help control the amount of food we eat and there are 2 hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, that are responsible for some of these signals. Armed with this information, when these hormones are ‘out of whack’, you’ll be able to recognize it and that knowledge will help you control them. And ‘what does this have to do with sleeping?’ you ask. We are glad you asked, read on…
The Appetite Suppressor
Leptin, which is stored and secreted by fat cells, is considered to be the master regulator of hunger. When you eat a meal, leptin is released from fat cells and sends a signal to your brain to let you know you’re full and to stop eating.
The Appetite Stimulator
Ghrelin is produced in the upper part of the stomach and is a hormone that increases hunger. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin travels through the bloodstream and tells the brain to signal hunger. After eating, the stomach stops releasing ghrelin. That’s one of the reasons why we should eat slowly – this is a complex process and those signals take time to get to our brain and register. Our ghrelin levels change throughout the day – they are high just before eating a meal, letting you know that you are hungry, and low just after eating, letting you know that you are full.
Age, gender, blood glucose, and leptin level can all affect ghrelin levels.
So, when you are dieting and eat less food, your ghrelin increases to high levels. This is your body’s attempt to make you eat more and slow weight loss. It is part of the reason why people tend to feel hungrier during weight loss diets. On the other hand, overeating decreases ghrelin to lower levels, which results in less hunger, a sense of fullness, and less urge to eat. People with stable weight have fewer changes in their ghrelin levels and a more balanced sense of hunger and fullness throughout the day.
Research has shown that the amount and quality of sleep influences ghrelin. Sleep-deprived adults tend to have higher ghrelin levels, are more hungry, and have less feeling of fullness as compared to adults who get seven-to-nine hours of sleep. See the chart below for the amount of sleep that’s right for you.
Here’s what happens to your Ghrelin levels when you don’t get enough sleep:
Studies have shown that obesity and physical inactivity are higher among people who do not get enough sleep for their age group. You might want to take a day or two off from work to relax, get back to exercising (which will help your sleep patterns too – just don’t exercise too close to bedtime!) and come up with a plan on how you can get more ‘me’ time so you can catch some zzzz’s.
Health Risk Factors by Sleep Duration
Adults who were short sleepers (less than 7 hours of sleep per 24-hour period) were more likely to report being obese, physically inactive, and current smokers compared to people who got enough sleep (7 or more hours per 24-hour period)
. Age-Adjusted Percentage Reporting Health Risk Factors by Sleep Duration
|Health risk factor||Definition||%||95% CI||%||95% CI|
|Obese||Body Mass Index ≥30 kg/m||33.0||(32.5-33.5)||26.5||(26.2-26.9)|
|Physically inactive||No leisure time physical activity in past 30 days||27.2||(26.8-27.7)||20.9||(20.6-21.2)|
|Current smoker||Currently smoke cigarettes every day or some days||22.9||(22.4-23.4)||14.9||(14.6-15.2)|
|Excessive alcohol||Underage drinker, binge drinker, or heavy drinker||19.4||(18.9-19.8)||19.1||(18.7-19.4)|
The health risks are real and is something we need to take seriously. Hormones released during sleep also control the body’s use of energy. Studies founds that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates. Getting sufficient sleep contributes to our overall health and ability to maintain an ideal weight.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
So, now that you know that sleep is not just a luxury, but a sometimes-overlooked necessity, see just how much is right for you:
|Age Group||Recommended Hours of Sleep Per Day|
|Newborn||0–3 months||14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)|
|Infant||4–12 months||12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)|
|Toddler||1–2 years||11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)|
|Preschool||3–5 years||10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)|
|School Age||6–12 years||9–12 hours per 24 hours|
|Teen||13–18 years||8–10 hours per 24 hours|
|Adult||18–60 years||7 or more hours per night|
|61–64 years||7–9 hours|
|65 years +||7–8 hours|
Controlling Weight with Sleep
The next time you want a between meal snack, take a moment and think about how you slept the night before. It may turn out that all you really need is a good night’s sleep.
Ahh, I think it’s time for a nap!!
Thank you for stopping by – we hope you found this information useful and share with your friends that may be burning the candle at both ends too. As always, we wish you the best of health!
PS. We looked for good products on Amazon to share with you but frankly, didn’t see anything that we would recommend. If you are looking for a gift, we always recommend Amazon gift cards because they have tons of fitness products to choose from. Or visit our shopping page – it’s the same great prices as Amazon.
References: Taheri S. The link between short sleep duration and obesity – Arch Dis Child 2006;91:881–884; Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Note: ∗ This article is not to be taken as medical advice. Sleep disorders are serious medical conditions that may have many causes, weight issues may also be a result of medical conditions. It is important to see your doctor for medical advice on health issues.