It’s 2015, and 68% of Americans are overweight. Wow! Ensuring we get enough sleep and rest can be the key to successful weight loss.
Studies have shown that people who get frequent, good-quality sleep tend to weigh less than those who lack appropriate shut eye. There certainly is a correlation between good health and good sleep. People who are sleep deprived end up with fluctuations in the hormones that help us regulate our hunger. Leptin, also known as the “satiety hormone”, helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. It’s brother, ghrelin, is known as the “hunger hormone.” What happens in obesity is that people develop a sensitivity to leptin, resulting in an inability to recognize satiety even when they are full. It’s even worse when you have sleep apnea. This means you feel hungry even when you shouldn’t. Researchers refer to increased levels of leptin in obese patients as “paradoxical.” It’s not fair, right?!
What happens when we get tired? What do we do? Ideally, it’s the end of a long and productive day, and we go to bed (after we brush and floss, of course). But what if it’s 4 pm in the afternoon? We head to the pantry. Grab a snack. Usually something with sugar in it. Your body is craving sleep, not food, but in your sleepy state, you fail to recognize this. There are an abundance of physical consequences evident when your body lacks sleep.
Sleep loss affects your mood, your appetite and your hormones. You’re inclined to desire comfort food when you are tired and it’s more probable that you will indulge your craving for them. You’ll reach for the candy rather than choosing carrot sticks.
Hunger isn’t the real problem; your sleepiness is.
Sleep and weight are intertwined and destined to remain so. It is a complex interrelationship that we could spend hours exploring. We encourage you to learn all that you can. In the meantime, treating your sleep apnea CAN help you sleep better and lose weight!