Lots of people may not be aware of the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Studies have certainly shown some links, which is a significant finding for Australians.
Between work, family, and other obligations, the average Australian is not consistently getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep everyday. Beyond seeing the effects on their productivity, this lack of sleep can also be the reason why your clothes no longer fit.
The tiredness and sleepiness tend to make you reach out for the unhealthiest snacks in an effort to keep you awake. Without you noticing, you gain weight over time.
How Does Lack Of Sleep Affect Your Weight?
There have been many studies that have shown the connection between sleep deprivation and weight gain. According to experts, these are the 4 ways why this happens.
- It Affects Your Hormones
The most widely accepted explanation out there is the imbalance of the hormones in the body caused by lack of sleep. Your appetite is affected by the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin.
The first is a hormone that the stomach produces and will tell the body to eat or not. On the other hand, Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells and tells the brain it is full and to stop eating.
When you sleep less than 5 hours in the night, the body produces 15% less Leptin and 15% of Ghrelin. This translates to eating more during the day, more compared to the people who have had enough sleep.
Over time, this overeating will result in too much calorie intake that will accumulate into fat.
- It Affects Your Daily Activities
Interestingly, studies have shown that 60 to 65% of the calories that the body burns get burnt up while you are sleeping. Only 35 to 40% of it actually get used up through your daily activities. This means, when you sleep less, your body will burn a lot fewer calories as opposed to those who have slept enough.
If you continue to be sleep deprived over a long period of time, you will see the numbers in the weighing scale go up. Lastly, it will give you less energy during the day and even affect how much calories you burn while awake.
- You End Up Having Higher Levels Of Stress
Being sleep deprived can lead to stress building up. REM sleep is the time when your brain gets to rest and process what happened during the day.
Thus, when you are sleeping less, the mind gets less time to rest and will remain in a worked-up state. It will lead to the body releasing more stress hormones that are also known to lead to slower metabolism. The end result is, of course, weight gain.
- You Crave More
Whether it is the stress or the lack of energy, sleep deprivation will make you crave for low-nutrient and high-calorie snacks. Studies have proven this, specifically that those who sleep for 4 hours only will highly respond to food stimuli like the smell and the sight of chocolates, ice cream, and pastries.
When your will is low and you do indulge in these unhealthy snacks, you will see a spike in the calories you consume. Beyond just searching for sweets, you might also crave for foods with more fat.
Why You Should Work On Getting Proper Sleep
While some situations might lead to you less shut-eye for a night, constant sleep deprivation can have long-lasting effects on your health and your body. You are not just more likely to gain weight, you may also develop serious health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular issues.
Thus, try to follow some tips on improving your sleep. First is to sleep in the night in a room that is dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in a comfortable bed and pillow and try to avoid getting too cold or too warm.
You might also want to relax before going to bed so that you can doze off well, avoiding your phone if possible. A smartphone can affect your sleep. Make sure you also avoid caffeine consumption.
Despite the stresses and responsibilities of modern life, every Australian should make it a priority to get enough shut-eye so that they can keep themselves in good health and in great shape.