Sleep deprivation has elevated itself into a global health problem. It no longer comes as a surprise considering how obsessed almost everyone is with their smart gadgets. Moreover, our modern lifestyle prefers non-stop partying at night, eating greasy, fatty and sugary foods that make it difficult for one to sleep, late-night TV or online streaming binge-watching that makes sleeping on time impossible. As a result, you end up looking like a human panda – sporting dark undereye bags that are the result of long sleepless nights.
Sleep deprivation really hurts you bad. Not only do you feel bad from sleeplessness but from all the weight you likewise put on by constantly pulling all-nighters. For starters, you won’t have the energy to lead a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have the energy for it. Can you imagine doing the extra mile by regularly going to the supermarket to shop for fresh fruits and green and make the laborious preparations of cooking healthy meals or having the time and energy to jog after work or hit the gym perhaps to burn all the calories you’ve consumed during the day? Likely no, right?
Scientists are to give new advice on how to win the battle against the bulge: stop counting calories and count sheep instead. At a key international conference on Sunday, researchers will seek to highlight that a good night’s sleep is as important a factor as any other in ensuring people control their weight and waistlines.
Their research, which will be outlined at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Lisbon, will emphasise how disrupted sleep patterns – a common feature of modern living – can trigger changes in appetite, metabolism, motivation and physical activity, or even a combination of all these factors. This leads to disruption in people’s appetite and responses to food. The end result is weight gain. It is hoped that a breakthrough in public awareness of the issue could lead to significant health gains.
“Our studies suggest that sleep loss favours weight gain in humans. It is therefore fair to say that improving sleep could be a promising lifestyle intervention to reduce the risk of future weight gain,” said Christian Benedict, a neuroscientist at Uppsala University in Sweden, who is scheduled to speak at the Lisbon conference on Sunday.
Obesity is a growing problem and it predisposes people to a long list of health complications aside from reducing your self-esteem and ego to roughly the size of a peanut. Don’t be a part of the obesity epidemic and stay healthy by making a conscious effort to sleeping right and on time every night, if possible.
“Our studies also indicate that sleep loss shifts the hormonal balance from hormones that promote fullness ( satiety), such as the intestinal hormone glucagon-like peptide 1, to those that promote hunger, such as the stomach hormone ghrelin,” says Christian Benedict.
Sleep restriction also increased levels of endocannabinoids, which are also linked to appetite, the findings suggest.
The researchers say that sleep loss also affects the balance of gut bacteria, which has been widely implicated as key for maintaining how our bodies process food into energy.
Many studies have proven how detrimental sleep loss is to your body image. If you are conscious of the way you look and don’t want to sport unsightly cellulite and layers of fat, you can do your body a favor by observing regular sleeping habits.
Chronic sleep loss has a negative effect on metabolism, hormonal function, and the pace of aging. The lack of sleep can interfere with the body releasing hormones such as cortisol, and growth hormones which influence muscle strength, the ratio of muscle to fat, and cause people to age faster. Excess cortisol can damage a person’s health over a period of time and cause decrease memory, low energy, low immune system, weight gain, sleep disorders, and thyroid dysfunction. There are also increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.
The National Sleep Foundation explains that most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, teenagers need 8-10 hours, elementary age kids need 9-11 hours, preschoolers need 10-13 hours, toddlers need 11-14 hours, and babies need 12-18 hours.
To combat chronic sleep deprivation and the consequential weight gain, try your best to sleep and wake up around the same time each day and night. Sleep in total darkness to promote the body’s normal circadian rhythm. It’s also not advisable to eat a hearty meal right before bedtime. Also, minimize mental stimulation at night. Turn off your smartphone, so sleep will come naturally.
Just think of the excess fats you’ll be gaining and the dark bags under your eyes you’ll be sporting when you always pull all-nighters. You’re not an owl. Allow your body to rest and relax, so it is ready for what lies ahead the next day or suffer the consequences of sleep loss. Weight gain is the least of your worries if you keep up this unhealthy lifestyle.