Why Insomnia is Making You Fat
By Sarah Axtell, ND • April 8, 2016
Are you gaining weight despite your exercise and diet regimen? Packing on extra pounds in the midsection? Do you have weight loss resistance? If so, the answer to your weight loss may be getting better quality sleep and getting more sleep. We need between 7-8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep to achieve an optimal weight. Here is why:
“Munchies”– When we are sleep deprived, we feel hungry. Sleep deprivation activates endocannabinoid receptors (the same receptors activated by marijuana), thus giving you the “munchies” all day long.
Cortisol– Over time, elevated cortisol (our stress hormone that makes us feel “wired and tired”) can cause unwanted belly fat by disrupting our metabolism. This can cause in increase in central or abdominal obesity due to excess adipose deposits.
Increased blood sugar- Lack of sleep has been shown to increase blood sugar. Increased blood sugar leads to insulin resistance, which contributes not only to diabetes but also obesity.
Reduced leptin and increased ghrelin- These two hormones are involved in appetite and hunger. Leptin contributes to satiety while ghrelin leads to increased appetite. Individuals who have short sleep duration of 5 hours or less have reduced leptin and increased ghrelin leading to increased appetite and higher BMI.
While diet and exercise are essential to weight loss, good sleep hygiene should be a critical component to a holistic weight loss program.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.