"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Too little sleep and an excessive amount of weight: a dangerous duo

You are walking down the road early within the morning after staying up all night to finish a project in your boss. The coffee shop on the corner all the time beckons you. But today, this siren song is greater than a cup of joe. Somehow, there may be an irresistible urge to purchase a donut or two.

If you've ever wondered why, read on.

Americans report that the quantity of sleep they get each night has dropped from a median of about 8.5 hours within the Sixties to just below 7 hours today. There are probably many reasons for this, but they might include 24/7 occupations, prolonging the “day” with artificial light, using electronic devices at bedtime (the blue wavelength light from these devices triggers sleep. procrastination), and the widespread belief that sleep is a lower priority than other activities, whether work-related or pleasure-related.

And today, not only are more of us sleeping less, we're also chubby. More than 30 percent of American adults at the moment are obese, in comparison with lower than 15 percent within the Sixties. This “obesity epidemic” has also spread to children, with about 17% now considered obese. This is a worrying trend as obese children are more likely to grow to be obese adults.

Is there a link between decreased sleep duration and increased obesity? Overwhelming evidence suggests that there may be. Several large studies involving hundreds of adults have generally found that those that sleep less (defined as 5 hours or less per night, but sometimes 6 hours or less) are 45 percent more more likely to be obese. Up to more. We don't have as much data on children, but one study found that children who slept lower than 7.5 hours per night had 3 times the chance of obesity over a 5-year period.

Studies also show that those that sleep less often don't eat healthier. Overall, their diets have less food variety, the next percentage of calories from snacks, and better amounts of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Additionally, they skip essential meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and eat more snacks. These habits promote weight gain and the eventual development of obesity.

Is there a scientific explanation for the eating behavior of short sleepers? Experimental studies show that sleep deprivation results in changes within the hormones that regulate blood sugar (glucose) processing and appetite. For example, the hormone ghrelin stimulates appetite, while the hormone leptin reduces it. With sleep restriction, ghrelin levels rise and leptin levels fall, thereby increasing appetite and hunger. Additionally, these studies have observed that sleep-restricted individuals have greater cravings for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods.

So what does the info that links insufficient sleep to weight gain tell us?

The take-home message is that getting enough sleep is one solution to reduce the chance of weight gain and obesity. There is an inclination to placed on kilos as we age. Inadequate sleep will worsen this phenomenon. If an individual is already chubby or obese, it can be harder to shed some pounds without adequate sleep. From a societal perspective, the obesity epidemic, with its associated increase in rates of several chronic conditions (eg, heart disease, diabetes), places a greater burden on health care systems and increases health care costs. Contributes to expenses. Adequate sleep deserves to affix exercise and good nutrition as one in every of the essentials for good health.