Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.
March 25, 2013 Admin 1
Sleep deprivation and poor or irregular sleeping habits have been associated with weight gain and obesity for a number of years. No conclusive studies have delivered information needed to cement a definite cause, but have instead suggested multiple reasons why a lack of sleep may result in weight gain. In very basic terms, it has been reasoned that spending less time asleep means more waking hours, and more waking hours means more energy expenditure. More importantly this means more time to eat….
To dig a little deeper and a little more scientifically, the bodies circadian rhythm has been observed to show that glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity (response) is far greater in the morning (peaking around 12 pm under normal sleeping patterns) than it is in the evening.The circadian rhythm can be seen as as a mechanism by which our bodies prepare for different activities throughout the day, including glucose metabolism. Those who consume the majority of their calories in the evening or late afternoon are at an immediate disadvantage in the way calories are processed by the body. Night-time activity and eating generous amounts of calories are possibly one of the best ways of ensuring a destabilitation of the metabolic equilibrium.
The destabilisation of the equilibrium or rather putting a spanner in the works of the circadian rhythm in very simple terms can lead to to the body processing food in a much less efficient manner than if the same food was consumed first thing in the morning. Sleep deprivation itself has tended to show increases in food intake but not energy expenditure in as short periods as 4-5 days. A study by St. Onge et al, available in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (94 : 410-416) suggested this was a tangible phenomenon and the study used individuals with normal body weights. Insulin secretion oscillates to match an anticipated activity level for a given day, experiencing greatest secretion during the daylight or waking hours.
If you are unable to sleep because you work shifts or suffer from a sleep disorder, your chances of not just increasing energy intake but also being less able to process the calories you intake can be something or a ‘double whammy’. The matter of sleep deprivation or sleeping patterns which do not take advantage of sleeping enough during the night hours (like shift workers), strongly suggest that any activity along these lines, disrupts circadian rhythm and effects normal metabolism detrimentally.