Losing weight may be one of the most common goals for the United States population, with obesity rates as high as ever. With millions of people using fad diets to try and shed a few pounds, it is amazing how the essential needs of the body are often neglected. A new study from two leading universities has found that a lack of sleep – in addition to too much sleep – can lead to fat gain.
It is rather well known that a lack of activity, overeating, wrong food choice, and eating at the wrong times can all contribute to obesity. More and more experts are also coming to realize that consuming harmful ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and hydrogenated oils can also lead to excessive fat gain. What people may not realize, however, is that lack of sleep also plays an integral role in the battle of the bulge.
In a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it was found that sleep deprivation played a large role in weight gain. In this study, 10 overweight participants were separated into two groups. One group slept for 5.5 hours each night, while the other group slept for 8.5 hours each night. This study was conducted over the course of 14 days.
Variables such as caloric intake and activity level were taken into consideration, and both groups were assigned the same caloric intake and activity regimens. The results were surprising, with both groups losing the same amount of weight. The difference, however, was that the group who slept for longer lost more fat and less muscle than the group who only slept for 5.5 hours each night.
Most people do not realize the relationship between sleep deprivation and weight loss. Unfortunately, people rely on improper dieting techniques that can be very harmful to the body. Oftentimes in modern society it is considerably challenging to get an adequate amount of sleep each night, but it is absolutely worth clearing your schedule to revitalize your health.
Not only have these findings revealed decreased fat loss with less sleep, but they also suggest that insufficient amounts of sleep affect the levels of two hormones related to hunger. These two hormones are known as ghrelin and leptin. More time spent awake leads to increased levels of hunger, which leads to dysregulation in the hunger hormones. This is what can create the perfect environment for obesity.
Hunger hormones are certainly affected by lack of sleep, but so are other parts of the body. The metabolism, as well as one’s resistance to insulin, has also been found to be considerably altered. These alterations come together to make fat loss quite difficult.
Sleep deprivation is a very common problem among the general population and should not be overlooked. It has been linked to high blood pressure, lower levels of cognitive function, increased stress hormone production, depression, weight gain, and much more. It may seem difficult to get at around 7 hours of sleep for some people, but the benefits are well worth it.