Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, expert says

Lack of a good night’s sleep can lead to weight gain, increased desire to eat, and decreased feelings of fullness. According to an alert from the Sleep Institute, on the occasion of World Obesity Day, celebrated today (4), the negative impacts on the body resulting from lack of sleep occur in people of all ages. , mainly due to metabolic dysregulation.

“There has been increasing evidence in recent years, both in children and adolescents and in adults, that lack of sleep has its consequences. And one of them is weight gain,” says sleep medicine specialist and researcher at the Instituto do Sono, Érika Treptow.

“One of the reasons [para o ganho de peso] it is that the body is deregulated. Some substances begin to be produced in a way that is not normal. For example, there is a substance called ghrelin, which is associated with the urge to eat, and it dramatically increases [com a falta de sono]. A single night when we sleep little is enough to increase this substance, ”he specifies.

In addition to the increase in ghrelin, lack of sleep can reduce the production of leptin, which is the hormone associated with satiety, specifies the researcher. Study published in 2022 in the scientific journal JAMA internal medicineshowed that an increase of 90 minutes of sleep per night reduced daily caloric intake by 270 Kcal, which in the long term can lead to significant weight loss.

According to the researcher, insufficient sleep also shortens the fast that occurs when the body is asleep. “Those who end up sleeping less have more time, more opportunities, more hours in which they can eat. Sleeping less is also very tiring, so the person has more difficulty exercising , for example “.

But it’s not just lack of sleep that leads to weight gain. The reverse can also happen. According to Treptow, excess fat can disrupt sleep. “When we gain a lot of weight, especially depending on where that weight accumulates, there is a tendency for snoring, sleep apnea and poorer quality sleep.”

To improve sleep, the specialist recommends, mainly, regular bedtimes. “Our body works according to a rhythm and this rhythm is dictated, mainly, by our sleeping and waking times, by the time of our meals and by the light we receive during the day”.

“All the cells in the body work according to this rhythm. From the moment when I sleep every day at a different time, this disorder leads to a greater risk of illness,” he underlines.

Erika Treptow advises people not to eat, drink alcoholic beverages or stimulants close to bedtime. It is recommended to have a light meal in the evening. “People shouldn’t put their problems to bed either. One piece of advice we give is to keep a worry diary, where the person writes down everything that worries them, it’s like clearing their head and being able to go to bed to sleep”.

According to the researcher, another important advice is to get out of bed, in case the person wakes up in the middle of the night and cannot sleep. “Have a glass of water, go to the bathroom and then go back to sleep. Because frying in bed, as some people say, also reduces the chances of getting good quality sleep.

A suitable environment is also recommended. The room should have little light, little noise, a good temperature. “That, now in summer, we see how much it hurts to fall asleep”.

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