Woman in bed suffering from inability to sleep

Sleep affects weight

When you are under stress it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep and that can affect your weight in a number of ways. It’s not so much that if you sleep you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly.

Hormones affected by Sleep

Sleep affects your weight by the creation of our nightly hormones Ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, you have more of the hormone Ghrelin circulating in your system. That means you are hungrier. If you wake up in the middle of the night you might even find yourself feeling hungry and going for a snack!

Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating; that you are satiated or full. When you are sleep deprived, you have less Leptin causing more hunger during the day. More Ghrelin plus less Leptin equals additional weight gain. And that snowballs into anxiety when you are afraid of gaining weight!

In others studies, it was found that cutting back from the standard eight down to four hours of sleep each night produced striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function––changes that resembled the effects of advanced age or the early stages of diabetes––after less than one week!

Lack of Sleep Can Cause Diabetes Type 2

Missing quality and quantity of sleep has also been found to be a contributor to Type II Diabetes. Did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to a pre-diabetic state? That's pretty scary!

"Type II Diabetes is a disease where the body has difficulty regulating blood sugar levels.
When you don't get enough sleep, the hormone levels in your body can also become irregular. This includes cortisol, a hormone that keeps your body awake. When we lack sleep, the body may produce additional cortisol. While cortisol production increases in the body, blood sugar levels may also increase."

Weight Issues Related To Lack of Sleep

This is an important issue about blaming a higher weight for causing Diabetes Type 2. Researchers are unable to determine with certainty whether Diabetes Type 2 is caused by a higher weight, or if it's the other way around?! This is the issue of causation vs. correlation of weight to different diseases. Did Diabetes make you gain weight as a symptom? Was a higher weight a symptom of cardiovascular disease that may have even been caused by lack of sleep?!

Anxiety and Stress Cause Sleep Disturbances

We all have had a hard time from falling asleep due to worry and anxiety. Did you watch a disturbing movie or media presentation right before bedtime? Are you worried about work or responsibilities, economics or other issues that make it hard for you to both fall asleep and have a restful sleep? Remember lack of sleep can be a precursor to the creation of weight issues. 

Lack of Sleep Makes You Tired During the Day

lack of sleep makes you tired during the day and reliant of coffee and caffeine to stay away- man sleeping at his desk

If you fall asleep at your desk, find yourself nodding off while being a passenger in a moving car, while watching TV or reading a book you probably have not gotten enough quality or quantify of sleep. Relying on naps during the day will not relieve the issue of poor sleep!

Being sleep deprived has become a way of life for many. But lack of sleep is deleterious, effecting your energy levels and aging your brain. A huge proportion of car accidents are due to people falling asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately people who fall asleep at the wheel rarely kill just themselves, but are responsible for a huge portion of vehicular homicides. 

Imagine an overworked, tired truck driver behind the wheel of a huge rig that crossed the road. A car and its passengers don't stand a chance to survive a crash of this kind.

Shift Work Disorder from Overnight Work Schedule

It is particularly sad when someone needs a job but must accommodate the company's need for them to work a shift overnight. This can become a constant work schedule or just an occasional event.

Police, firemen, (sorry, no non-sexist term 😖 )law enforcement, military, security, healthcare, retail, restaurants, hospitality, grocery stores, transportation, fire stations, convenience stores, customer service call centers, newspapers, and media all have workers at different levels that necessitate overnight work schedules. 

This disrupts peoples’ internal body clocks or circadian rhythms. Many people will say they are used to working overnight but they are unaware of the physical changes taking place inside their bodies and brains! It can make people dependent on alcohol to fall asleep, and excess caffeine to stay awake during the day! As mentioned above it increases the likelihood of accidents both on the job and away. 

It can certainly negatively affect relationships by being cut-off from people on regular schedules. And poor relationships creates it's own set of stress and problems! 

Lack of Sleep is Torture

Not being able to fall asleep, and waking during the night is stressful. It makes waking up in the morning feel awful. When you think about it, lack of sleep is used as a torture technique! The stress can bring on brain disorders and mental illnesses!

Actions to take to improve your sleep:

  • Your bedroom should be dark and cool
  • Stop looking at your phone and media for at least 1/2 hour before going to bed
  • Don't drink alcohol to help you sleep. It starts as a depressant and then becomes a stimulant after a few hours, so it will make your sleep worse!
  • Don't have caffeine after 3pm in the afternoon
  • Go to bed with pleasant thoughts.
  • Go to bed the same time every night, and try to wake up the same time, even on weekends
  • Get some exercise or play in during the day- but not close to bedtime
  • Get a white noise machine that masks other sounds (helps with blocking out your partner's snoring)
  • Get checked to see if YOU have sleep apnea

If you are having a hard time falling asleep try my easy meditation method of counting your breaths back from 51. Each odd number is an inhale; each exhale is an even number. That helps if you lose count. Don't get upset if your mind wanders. Let your body "breathe you." Allow a rest between inhale and exhale. Extending your exhale engages the relaxation response.

It works! You can thank me later!

You can do it- signature


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