Kumbhakarana, the younger brother of Ravana was cursed to sleep for 6 months and then get up for a day. As per epic tales, he was huge and obese beyond limits. But in ‘contrast’, it is a practical fact that people who are obese, have trouble sleeping soundly. Moreover, there are even evidences that obese tend to be associated with untimely/ day-time sleepiness and having disturbed sleep during night.
Increase in body weight is not all because of nutritional habits or less activity level. It is also connected with behaviour, genes, social engagements, stress and most of all your ‘SLEEP’.
So, how do sleep deprived people gain weight??
Loss of sleep creates hormonal imbalance in the body that promotes overeating and weight gain. ‘Leptin’ & ‘Ghrelin’ are those hormones that control our appetite, and lack of correct time of sleep alters these two hormones, creating hunger pangs ….i.e. making us eat more calories. Also, sleep deprivation is associated with growth hormone deficiency and elevated cortisol level, which are other factors related to obesity. Additionally, insufficient sleep slows down metabolism and we gain more weight than desired.
It is a tried fact that restricted sleep duration is directly connected with selection of high calorie food and mostly taken late at night’. So, the next time when you take your dinner quite late or munching unnecessary snack while working late at night or taking those sumptuous snacks to harness some alcoholic drinks along and if all these cumulative added these are with less sleep time; you are gaining weight at a compound interest rate.
An overweight person may lack sleep because of obstruction of airway, causing loud snoring and heavy breathing, also chronic gastric reflux, stress and pain of joints because of weight of the body.
Over all it is important to get good sleep. An ideal 8 hour sleep or min 6 to 7 hour sleep is must. Irregular sleep schedule is greatest risk for weight gain. Researchers suggest that obesity may change metabolism and/or sleep-wake cycles in such a way that causes sleep quality to deteriorate. It’s always advisable to sleep according to the circadian rythm of the body. There are technique & life style changes available to boost this sleep hygiene cycle. Sleep hygiene involves things like setting regular sleep schedule, creating bedtime rituals, and maintain healthy habits and activity during the day. It’s not important to sleep early and get up early but it is must to get these hours of deep sleep. Yes, sound sleep helps you shed some weight.
Hence, if you are with more kilos on your body, have sleep issues; you need to break the tricky cycle. You must consult a sleep specialist. For the time being; remember to do ‘some’ physical exercise (it may include taking extra pain to climb the stairs and avoiding lift), select your food carefully (as the food which is exciting to your taste buds; may harm you overall health) and get ‘good sleep hygiene’ (by practicing, consulting and changing your life style).