Not getting enough rest can affect your body in surprising ways. For instance, did you know that poor sleep is linked to consuming more calories? In other words, not catching a full forty winks might cause you to gain weight and can even put you at risk for obesity. Here’s what you need to know about this surprising and alarming connection.
What Has Research Found?
There was a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January of 2018. Its initial goal was to try and extend the sleep duration for “short sleepers” (people who sleep between 5 to 7 hours each night) in a brief period of time. Half of the adults tested continued their normal sleep behaviors while the other half worked with sleep psychologists to try and sleep for an extra hour and a half.
The participants kept food and sleep diaries over the course of the study. After 4 weeks, the researchers found that those who got more sleep than usual also started consuming 10 fewer grams of sugar on average compared to when they started. Similarly, fats and carbohydrates were also consumed less often. Overall, those who got less sleep tended to consume about 550 more calories each day. (Note that participants were not asked to change their diets.)
How Does Less Sleep Lead to More Calories?
Why do people seem to eat more when they don’t get enough sleep? Research suggests that it’s due to changes in hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. The hormone ghrelin encourages you to eat more while the hormone leptin is used to suppress your appetite once you’re full. A sleep-deprived body will produce more ghrelin and less leptin, leading you to eat more than you really need to.
What If I Have Trouble Sleeping?
Getting the proper amount of rest can sometimes be easier said than done. If it’s simply a matter of not spending enough time in bed, there are a few things you can do to try and increase your amount of sleep:
- Avoid using electronics within an hour of bedtime; the blue light they emit makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Create a relaxing routine before bedtime away from bright lights.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule; go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Make sure your mattresses and pillows are as comfortable and supportive as possible.
In some cases, you might think you’re getting enough sleep, but you’ll still feel drowsy and hungry during the day. This could be a sign of sleep apnea; people with this disorder often don’t realize they’re having trouble sleeping in Los Gatos, which leads to inexplicable weight gain. Find a professional who can help you diagnose and treat sleep apnea so that you can rest normally.
Keeping your own sleep and food diaries can help give you some perspective on your daily habits and how they can be improved. Getting enough zzz’s could be the key to keeping your body slim and healthy!
About the Practice
At Los Gatos Dental Group, our dentists combine their specializations and expertise so that they can bring you a wide variety of dental services. They can help diagnose sleep apnea and can treat it so that you can enjoy a good night’s rest again. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (408) 402-0900.