Studies Show That Poor Sleep is One of the Most Common Causes of Weight Gain

BOYNTON BEACH, Florida—Sleep and weight gain are closely related, and weight gain is one of the common effects of lack of sleep according to a study published in the journal Sleep. Mounting evidence suggests that lack of sleep has multiple effects that can all result in excess weight. This study shows how sleep loss initiates the process of overeating, poor food choices and weight gain.

According to David C. Brodner, M.D., Board Certified Sleep Medicine specialist in Boynton Beach, Florida, “When our internal clock is disrupted, it may throw off many bodily functions including metabolism, hormonal balance, brain chemistry, cognitive function and immunity. Chronic sleep deprivation may lead to irritability, anxiety and depression—all contributors to emotional eating.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 63% of American adults do not get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. They report that the average adult gets 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours on weekends, for a daily average of 7 hours.

“When someone is deprived of sleep, the levels of leptin in their bodies drop and the levels of ghrelin rises,” says Dr. Brodner. “Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced in the gastrointestinal tract that makes you feel hungry or stimulates your appetite. Leptin, on the other hand, is a hormone that is produced in fat cells and does the opposite—it sends signals to your brain to give you the sensation of being full.  This subsequently stimulates the appetites, producing a sensation of being constantly hungry—even if they’ve just finished eating.”

There are many tips for helping you get a good night’s sleep including dimming the lights as bedtime draws near, not exercising too close to bedtime, steering clear of all caffeine from mid-day or later, and drinking milk before bed explains Dr. Brodner. Each person is different, so find what works for you. Eating balanced meals can also help the digestive track function well, which in turn produces less incidences of upset stomach or heartburn—both of which can keep you up at night.

Sleeping an adequate amount of time, preferably 7 to 9 hours per day, is tied to successful weight loss, and also helps a person resist cravings. When a person is tired the next day from a lack of sleep, it’s easy for them to seek out the fast burning, carbohydrates for a quick lift. These starches and sugars, and simple carbohydrates raise the blood sugar abnormally, and trigger the body to store fat. This subsequently can stall weight loss, and will even increase chances to gain extra pounds of fat.

The relationship between successful weight loss and getting enough sleep is not only supported by scientific facts, but it is also a matter of practicality. As a sleep deprived individual tries to function, their focus can be poor, discipline can lag, and distractions can more easily sway a person’s decisions, which can be a major contributing factor to a poor diet.

ABOUT DR. BRODNER

David C. Brodner, M.D. has been caring for the patients of Palm Beach County since 2001 and is proficient in managing all ailments of the Adult Ears, Nose and Throat.  He founded The Center for Sinus, Allergy, and Sleep Wellness in 2009 to offer the latest minimally invasive therapies for sinus headache, sinus infections, allergy testing and treatment, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and insomnia. Dr. Brodner also uses his experience and knowledge to help people as a research and development consultant, medical records reviewer, quality assurance and disability adjudicator, and expert witness. He was the first specialist in Palm Beach County to earn Board Certification in both Sleep Medicine and Otolaryngology. For more information visit www.BrodnerMD.com.