You may have heard that the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. How exactly does this happen? Our body is maintained by a series of delicate balances that help us maintain a set “level” that keeps us healthy. Many of these set points are balanced by hormones that regulate the body. One of these set points is our hunger.
What Research Has Found
According to Gregory B. Dodell, MD, an endocrinologist at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, there are two hormones called ghrelin, which is a protein that is made by the stomach that stimulates you to be hungry, and leptin, which is a hormone that is released by fat cells that helps you to be full. When we neglect our sleep, studies have found that our body stimulates the release of more ghrelin, and decreases the release of leptin. This means that our bodies will want to eat more food (and studies show the body tends to want more foods high in salt and high in calories), which results in a higher risk for becoming overweight or obese in the future.
Studies have also found that when we don’t get enough sleep, our stress hormone cortisol is increased. Cortisol has been found in studies to increase blood pressure, which puts us at additional risk for stroke and heart attack, and decrease our body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Factoring the Results
You know the importance of exercise and diet, but if you want to lose those extra pounds, the key may be to include getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis to make sure your body is in balance.
Deep, healing sleep is fundamental to your health. To learn more on you can achieve the highest quality of sleep call today!
For Your Health,
Dr. Billie King Shaw