Sleep and Your Weight
Posted by amykr on June 1, 2012
We talk about our weight all the time. We try new food plans, we take up different exercise programs and we say positive affirmations until we are blue in the face. We ask our doctors for help and they tell us to try harder, eat less and exercise even more. When was the last time you were asked how well you sleep? Our quality of sleep affects our weight more than we can ever imagine.
Why You Need to Get 7-8 Hours
We run on less and less sleep so we can get more done and connect to more people. This lack of sleep has a harsh effect on our brain. It will not only effect how we make decisions, deal with emotions and are able to concentrate but it will also affect our appetite. Sleep deprivation causes us to make rash decisions. This can lead to more volatile emotions and negative emotions like stress and anger. This leads to stress eating. It can also lead to eating foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt.
Sleep deprivation also increases the feelings of hunger. People who are sleep deprived will eat more frequently to help keep them awake. Again the foods they choose tend to be high in fat, salt and sugar. This just makes it harder to stay on your choice of food plans.
Sleep Disorders Affect Your Weight
Sleep apnea has been associated with many health problems but the biggest problem where your weight is concerned is the effect it has on your hormones. In particular you Cortisol levels tend to be elevated and stay elevated throughout the night. The stress response every time you stop breathing or have difficulty breathing as obvious by snoring your body responds with the fight or flight reflex and Cortisol is produced and stays elevated High Cortisol levels keep you from being able to lose weight.
Treating sleep apnea and snoring requires you to talk to your doctor about the problems you are having sleeping. You will want to explain all your symptoms not just that you are having difficulty sleeping. People with sleep apnea do not always snore so do not assume that you do not have sleep apnea if you do not snore.
There are many doctors who will say “well, if you lose weight you will not have sleep apnea and snoring” but in order for you to be successful with the weight loss you really need to treat this problem. Your body does not like to be stressed and if you are changing your food and your exercise but you are still stressing your body every night you will not be successful at losing weight. You need to be your best advocate.
Do Not Underestimate the Small Stuff
Weight loss is a challenge under the best circumstances. There are little things you can do to help you to make the weight loss journey a little easier. Sleep is one of the biggest influences that require very little specific work. Making sure you sleep 7-8 hours a day and that the sleep quality are two of the little changes you can do that will help you achieve your goal.