It is estimated that nearly half of all Americans get just six hours of sleep or less per night. Gaping yawns and blurry eyes are not the only effects of insufficient sleep as not getting enough sleep can also pack on the pounds. Many studies have found that people who routinely get under seven hours of sleep per night are heavier, gain more weight over time and have a more difficult time losing weight.
The Link Between Sleep Deprivation & Weight Gain
Exactly how sleep deprivation affects one’s ability to control weight has much to do with two key hormones: Ghrelin and Leptin. Ghrelin sends the signal that it’s time to eat. When you are deprived of sleep, your body produces more of this hormone which can lead you to overeating. Leptin lets you know when you’re full and satisfied so you stop eating. But when you’re not getting enough sleep, your body produces less leptin which leads you to eating more food than you need, resulting in weight gain.
Another reason many people with sleep deprivation are overweight is because a lack of sleep can prompt your body to “think” you’re in danger. This can trigger a slowing down of your metabolism as your body attempts to maintain its resources to keep you alive. This is why so many weight loss doctors tell their patients that getting good sleep is key to succeeding with any weight loss plan.
A Vicious Cycle Often Occurs
To further complicate matters, people who are overweight often develop sleep apnea which produces more sleep deprivation and more packing on the pounds. Sleep apnea can cause irritability, mood swings, concentration problems, headaches and excessive daytime fatigue & tiredness. Most overweight people suffering from sleep apnea know they should be exercising during the day to help them lose weight. However, exercising is often the last thing they want to do as they’re simply too tired to even consider starting an exercise routine.
As you can see, a vicious cycle can occur where sleep deprivation leads to less motivation to exercise which leads to weight gain. The weight gain leads to obesity which can lead to sleep apnea.
Spark Sleep Solutions Can Help
If you’re trying to get a summer beach body and suspect your inability to lose weight is due to a sleep problem such as sleep apnea, Spark Sleep Solutions can help. Our board-certified physicians can help you get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep you need each night to help you feel rested and healthy so you can begin a weight loss program. Simply contact us today to schedule an appointment. With four offices in San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Cruz and Los Gatos, we make it very convenient to get the help you need.