Updated: May 2
Sleep is one of the missing links that can help explain a disconnect between “calories in, calories out” for a person. And, it is not as simple as getting “more” sleep. Sleep disorders are incredibly common in adult Americans. Did you know that the proportion of adults in the United States sleeping less than seven hours per night has increased from 16 to 37 percent over the past 40 years? Perhaps this is part of the reason the obesity rates have increased as well? There are also a myriad of negative health consequences of sleep disruption that go beyond any bags under the eyes, fatigue, and crankiness, and these can be more long-term. Sleep disruption can affect a person's metabolic health, blood pressure, blood sugar, heart arrhythmias (like atrial fibrillation), mood, and pain. But, before you try something for the symptom of your tossing and turning, realize that there are multiple different sleep disorders that can affect the fragile process of restorative sleep. So, let's not just put a “band aid” on it, let’s drill down to the underlying cause!
Let’s look at a few sleep conditions of which you might not be aware and take a closer look. I hope it is not so boring that it puts you to sleep, but if it does, you may have a reduced sleep latency and be sleep deprived, so make an appointment with me!
Sleep and Weight
Why do sleep disorders affect body weight? When a human has inadequate sleep, the hormone leptin is reduced and the hormone ghrelin is increased. Leptin is a hormone that reduces hunger and increases metabolism and gherlin does the opposite. Studies show increased hunger and appetite (in particular for calorie-dense foods with high carbohydrate content) and reduced proportion of weight lost as fat during caloric restriction. This means that when a person does lose weight, more of it is lean body mass than fat mass.