Do low levels of sleep make weight control more difficult?
Many studies have observed comparisons between reduced sleep and increased weight, stipulating that those who sleep less are more inclined to be obese.
- Reduced sleep impacts on hormone regulation of appetite and induces insulin resistance (even after just one night of poor sleep).
- Sleep deprivation is associated with increased waist circumference, visceral fat and a downturn in PA through fatigue, brought on by insufficient sleep.
- Sleep deprivation impairs glucose metabolism and increases risk of diabetes independently of changes in BMI.
Sleep deprivation and diabetes risk involves 3 pathways:
1. Alterations in glucose metabolism
2. Up regulation of appetite
3. Decreased energy expenditure
- Sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in hunger and studies have noted that a preference for sugary snacks is a feature of mental fatigue. Glucose is the main source of fuel – sugar acts to compensate for natural fatigue.
- Sleep deprivation is also linked to irregular food intake, binging and lack of vegetable consumption.
- Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and reduces leptin levels, which increasing feelings of hunger and appetite.
What could be done to improve this?
Exercise has been shown to improve sleep, daytime drowsiness and fatigue. Studies have reported 65% less risk of feeling sleepy during the day as a result of meeting physical activity guidelines.
1. Exercise earlier in the day
2. Say no to television/technology 1-2 hours before bed
3. Dim the lights in your bedroom
4. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day
5. Practice a relaxing bedtime rituals i.e. stretching or meditating