1)Increase in Appetite: When sleep deprived, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. This is one of the hormones that control appetite. More cortisol in your system, the hungrier you are. It can get so bad that even when full, you feel hungry and can lead to overeating and weight increase. Cortisol is also produced when we are under stress; it is produced by our body when we feel threatened – the fight or flight syndrome. If you are under a lot of stress while you are awake, and then don’t get enough sleep at night, that can really throw your cortisol levels out of whack.
2) Increase in Body Fat: If you eat more calories than you burn, you are going to gain weight, muchis body fat. However, that may not be all that is causing you to gain weight. Another culprit could be reduced metabolism (number of calories burned in a day). Sleep deprivation interferes with the ability to burn carbohydrates. This can lead to high blood sugar; causing an excess secretion of insulin, causing increased body fat. Not only are you eating more than you should, your body is not burning it at the rate it should.
What causes us to not sleep enough? Most of our sleep loss is caused by sleep apnea, being overweight and insomnia.
Sleep Apnea: A medical condition where breathing stops and starts up to hundreds of times per night without you even knowing it. Even though you are not physically waking up, your body is and as a result, you are not getting the sleep you should.
Obesity: Weighing more than you should can cause difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep. As a result, you end up being awake more that you should. Also, if you have not replaced your mattress within the last eight years, you are due for a new one. That alone could help you sleep better as it will support you better than your old one, thus allowing for a more and better sleep cycle.
Insomnia: Worrying (work or family problems) will not allow you to sleep as much or as well as you should. In time, this takes a toll on your body and as we know, can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Adequate sleep is just as important to your weight loss efforts as is the food you eat and exercise you get. If you are sleep deprived and can’t figure out the cause, see your healthcare professional to see if a medical condition is causing your sleep loss.
When sleep deprived, the body’s metabolism system doesn’t work right, so it is not burning calories as efficiently as it could. Research has shown the issue seems to come from a change in glucose tolerance or the body’s ability to turn food into glucose and get it to the cells where it can be used for energy. Being sleep deprived, glucose tolerance can diminish as much as 40%. If calories are not being processed, they are stored as fat, leading to weight gain.
BAD FOOD CHOICES
The other part is the bad food choices we make when sleep deprived. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which controls our appetite and a decrease in leptin, which tells us when we are full.
Sleepily we grab a cup of coffee or two…or three, along with a donuts for some quick energy. That sugar rush caused by the sugar in the donut and in your coffee, if you added some, soon wears off and before long you are back looking for more food.
The issue is you are not looking for carrots or even apple slices with peanut butter – something that would be good for you – no, you are back for another donut or something that will give you the sugar rush again, has a lot of calories, and absolutely no nutritional value. The long-term result of this eating behavior is weight gain, even to the point of obesity. Typically, those that are sleep-deprived eat about 300 calories per day more than when they are rested. In a week, that is a pound of weight gain just from not getting enough sleep. Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two pounds!
And it wouldn’t be as bad…but still not good, if you hit the gym sometime during the day to burn off as many of those calories as you could, but being sleep deprived, you are too tired to exercise, so the weight just keep piling on.
A typical adult needs at least 8 hrs of quality sleep per night to avoid sleep deprivation and the change in hormones. Between the combination of taking in more calories and the body’s ability to efficiently burn them altered (with a lack of exercise due to tiredness) the end result is weight gain – and in some cases, a lot of it.