NSF’s 2003 Sleep in America poll revealed: 77% of older adults who are obese report some kind of sleep problem. More recently it is being suggested that the first step to treating obesity may be to diagnose and treat sleep deprivation. With appetite and low energy being the main consequences of sleep deprivation, as well as the main causes of weight gain, it is reasoned that improving one will benefit the other. Listed below are three main ways that sleep deprivation and obesity are casually related.
- Sleep and obesity interchangeably interact with one another. A lack of sleep will result in less energy and can lead to being unmotivated to exercise or stick to a diet plan. However, the more overweight a person is, the higher the risk of sleep-disordered breathing and other inadequate sleep patterns. This cyclical pattern is advised to be broken by addressing the poor sleep habits first to better maintain energy levels to address diet and exercise habits.
- Inadequate sleep patterns and sleep deprivation can also enhance psychological effects that relate to appetite. While some may experience a lack of appetite, the majority of the population will have an increased appetite and crave foods that are high in fat.
- Hormones play a significant role in the relationship with sleep and weight gain. There are two hormones that are significantly affected by sleep deprivation. Leptin, which naturally performs as an appetite suppressor, and ghrelin, which increases appetite and impacts body weight. These two hormones have a reciprocal relationship in reaction to sleep deprivation. When there is a lack of sleep, the leptin levels lower while the ghrelin levels rise, which signals the body to intake food to increase energy.