Do you aim to get an adequate amount of sleep each night or do you sacrifice an hour of sleep each morning to get a workout in? If you follow a healthy diet and exercise plan but you’ve failed to set up a strong sleep routine for yourself, you may have some habits to make or break. Studies show that there is a link between sleep and weight.
The Link to Obesity
Numerous studies show a link between inadequate sleep and obesity. This theory garnered interest and further study when researchers discovered that as Americans began reporting a decrease in sleep quality, BMI (body mass index) rates rose. There are a few different theories that try to explain this correlation.
Think about how your body feels when you have had a restless night of sleep. Do you skip your morning workout, or maybe crave junk food all day? Researchers believe that there is a connection to lack of sleep and an increase in appetite. Why? The neurotransmitters in our body that help control appetite, ghrelin and leptin, naturally rise and fall throughout the day. Studies have shown that when people get less sleep, they have an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin—meaning that they had an increased appetite but didn’t feel as full. This change to these appetite-controlling neurotransmitters can cause you to eat more but feel less satisfied. Studies have also linked lack of sleep to unhealthy food choices. When you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to crave foods that are fattening, sugary, and salty.
When you are sleep-deprived and lacking energy, one of the last things you might want to do is exercise. The connection between sleep deprivation and obesity may have something to do with this. Not only can you feel depleted of energy after a poor night of sleep, but you may feel less safe doing exercises that require a lot of energy and balance, like weightlifting. Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight.
While exercise can boost your metabolism, at least temporarily, studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to metabolic dysregulation—or the inability of the metabolism to function properly.
While a final conclusion hasn’t been drawn, these theories are still important. Ultimately, our bodies function better when they are fully rested. Set up a good sleep routine for yourself so that you can get an adequate amount of sleep each night and wake up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day.