According to health and fitness experts sleep has a strong connection with appetite and weight gain. Sleep affects body energy usage and hormone regulation. Research has proved that there is strong evidence of less sleep and high body mass index (BMI). In this article, we will discuss the facts that show the relationship between sleep and appetite. Basically, appetite is regulated by hormones which are described below.
Hormones responsible for appetite
Hormones are secretions produced by our body to regulate several mechanisms inside the body. To control body weight and appetite two hormones are responsible i.e. Leptin and Ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by fat body cells (adipocytes) that is responsible for appetite and energy balance. It gives a message to the brain that the body energy source is full and don’t need additional energy reserves. This hormone produces the feeling of fullness and satiated that prevents overeating.
Ghrelin is also secreted by fat cells in the body, but it is secreted antagonist to leptin. It gives a message to the brain that body energy source is depleted and need more energy, that ultimately makes the person hungry. This hormone promotes overeating or increased appetite.
Lack of sleep and hormonal fluctuations
The hormones ghrelin and leptin have a great role in regulating appetite. If a person sleep is affected that not only makes that person lethargic but also affects the appetite. Due to a shortage of sleep, the leptin levels drop in the body and the hormone ghrelin level increases that effects the appetite. This was proved by a study of Mignot based on a population of 1024 patients. They found that people who were taking sleep less than 8 hours per day had high ghrelin and decreased leptin level in the body. They also found that sleep duration also effects BMI such as people who were taking at least 8 hours of sleep had normal BMI while people who were taking less than 8 hours of sleep showed increased BMI. It is highly recommended to take 8 hours of sleep every night to have a healthy lifestyle. Sleep not only keeps you healthy and active but also helps the brain to get rid of the effects of stress, which has similar effects on hormonal levels if not managed properly. If you have improper sleep one night, you will eat more the following day.
What happens in case of insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that causes difficulty in falling asleep or fails to sleep. There may be several reasons and types of insomnia but the most common is stress and depression. Studies have shown that insomniac sufferers have a high level of ghrelin level, that proves that ghrelin hormone secretes more in people suffering from sleep disorders. The insomniac people or sleep loss sufferers are physically less active, and they tend to gain weight more easily as compared to a person who takes proper sleep.
Weight gain and sleeping disorders
It’s not mandatory that you fail to sleep only in the stress condition, but due to our addiction to social media apps and craze for android phones have badly affected our lives. This has lead to sleepless nights and sleepy days. Apart from being inactive and dull this also affects BMI and promotes weight gain. There are two possibilities of weight gain in people having sleep disorders:
- Excessive/ binge eating at midnight
- Hormonal fluctuations
When a person remains awake whole night, he will feel hungry and as a result, that person will consume any available food or some chocolates, etc. that promotes weight gain. Additionally, people, who remain awake till late night they get increased production of ghrelin hormone that is appetite stimulator hormone and can cause weight gain. According to National Sleep Foundation spokesperson Dr. William Orr, “when sleep is restricted to four hours per night, the ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down”. This tells us that once ghrelin levels are high, they will increase the food intake and causes obesity.
Sleep deprivation is also the reason for excessive craving for fatty foods. If a person is sleep deprived and wants to eat healthy at night such as popcorn or fruit etc. that is a healthy snack is not problematic at all. But studies have shown that people who suffered from sleep loss feel the more urge to eat fatty foods or having more calories. For example, if you have a chocolate bar and you are sleep deprived you will feel the more urge to eat that as compared to the person who is taking proper sleep.
Obesity and health issues
If you are among those people who are sleep deprived and consumes more food due to increased appetite, that will not only cause weight, but the fat will also deposit under the skin layer and can cause several health issues. Diabetes is one of the most common diseases all around the world, and its risk increases due to obesity. As previously discussed, the ghrelin overload can cause a disturbance in glucose metabolism that may be the reason for increased blood sugar levels. Moreover, the overeating can cause deposition of visceral fat in the body and increases blood sugar levels in the body. Sleep deprivation also increases the production of cytokines in the body that can cause insulin resistance and increased blood sugar levels.
Cardiovascular diseases are a disease of high cholesterol and fats accumulation in heart vessels. Sleep deprivation can cause the onset of cardiac disease, but this is not directly related due to the lacing of scientific evidence. As fat deposited under the skin, this can cause several health issues.
Sleep, appetite, and obesity
Sleep, appetite, and obesity are interrelated that’s why it is always emphasized to take proper sleep. Sleep deprivation increases the appetite by altering hormones and that can cause obesity which is the root cause of many diseases. If you have some sleep-related issue, then try to figure out the reason and get rid of that issue. Meditation and yoga are best for having sound sleep and this will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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