Research shows that sleep loss could lead to increased weight gain – especially around your waist. In fact, sleep loss has been associated with fatigue, decrease libido, sleepiness, poor attention span, and altered hormone levels. Sleep loss has also been shown to reduce your free levels of Leptin. It has been documented that Western societies are chronically sleep deprived, which could lead to a whole host of issues.
It has been shown that roughly 30 percent of people are chronically sleep deprived, which may account for the reason why people tend to overeat or have an increased appetite. In fact, a new study published the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, could show a direct link between sleep deprivation and brain activity, and how it relates to appetite and food consumption. Let me explain…
Sleep Deprivation and Weight Loss
(Enjoy a good night’s sleep, naturally with Herbalife’s Sleep Now) Research has shown that sleep deprivation is linked to increased weight gain. There are many different factors that account for increased weight gain when discussing your sleeping patterns. From altered hormone levels to increased appetite for nutrient dense, high-calorie foods, even one night’s sleep loss may lead to alterations in your weight. So far, current research has failed to address the regions of the brain that are associated with sleep loss and increased appetite and poor food choices. The authors of this study attempted to examine brain activity associated with both a full night’s sleep and a night of sleep deprivation, and how that impacted the participants’ appetites when exposed to food images.
They recruited 23 young, healthy males, and subjected them to two consecutive nights of sleep: one full night’s sleep and one sleepless night. The morning after the sleep/sleep loss night, they assessed neural activity in the brain area (by functional MRI) while looking at high- and low- calorie food options. Also, hunger ratings and plasma glucose levels were also assessed before the scan, as were appetite ratings in response to the food images after the scan. One reason why they looked at plasma glucose levels is that low plasma glucose levels could stimulate a response to eat, due to replenishing your blood sugar.
According to their data, they found that sleep deprivation was associated with an increase in activity in the right anterior cingulate cortex region of the brain, which was independent of calorie content and pre-scan hunger ratings. They concluded that acute sleep loss enhances hedonic stimulus processing in the brain, which could be an underlying reason why people crave more food, regardless of blood glucose levels. Although this study addresses an area where there is currently very little research, it still needs to be verified by other research before this concept is truly accepted. Nonetheless, this study does further address the importance of adequate sleep with regards to weight loss or gain, and further strengthens the importance of getting six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Sleep and Your Health
It has been shown that even one day of sleep deprivation, could lead to alterations in hormones, sleepiness, fatigue, and fogginess. However, for unknown reasons, sleep loss has been shown to alter brain activity. According to the results of this study, however, sleep loss could stimulate certain areas of your brain, therefore increasing your appetite and cravings for nutrient dense, calorie-laden foods.
The best ways to lose weight include: a healthy diet, the right exercise plan, and plenty of sleep (more than 6 hours) in order for you to shed fat and keep it off.
By Kevin DiDonato
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