Can Sleep Affect Your Weight?
New Research Shows that Getting Less Sleep Leads to Increased Weight Gains
It’s a pretty well known and established fact that getting proper sleep helps in multiple aspects of life and health. Being sleep deprived can impair someone’s decision making, reduce cognitive/athletic performance, lead to depression/anxiety, and decrease immune function.
But if that doesn’t inspire you, then maybe this will. Researchers from Colorado have found that healthy people who get less sleep are much more likely to overeat and put on extra weight.
In the past few years of practice, I’ve had the privilege of taking care of numerous people with sleeping problems related to structural abnormalities in the upper cervical spine. Ranging from insomnia, sleep apnea, to unproductive sleep. One of the remarkable things about these folks, is that when they get well and start sleeping again, every aspect of their life and health improves.
Why does it happen?
Sleep isn’t merely about waking up and having energy for your day. Your body is in it’s highest state of cellular repair and turnover. Your body’s most important period for healing are those invaluable 8 hours you spend in bed. It lowers your insulin levels, normalizes your hormonal system, and slows down telomere degeneration (AKA a big factor in aging).
When you lose sleep, the hormones in your body that regulate your weight and control your appetite are not expressed to their fullest capacity. That leads to you overeating and putting your body in a state of insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes). But that’s a topic we’ll tackle another time.
How to improve your sleep
1. Get moving – Almost every study ever done on sleep shows that people who get exercise daily will report longer and higher quality of sleep than the days they are sleep deprived. IT doesn’t take much, just something as simple as walking has this effect.
2. Rule out Sleep Disorders – Many people have sleep disorders have no idea. If you’re not getting restful sleep, a sleep study can be useful in identifying potential disorders that are treatable. If have a feeling that your atlas is off and creating sleep related secondary conditions, then it’s important that you get checked by a chiropractor.
3. Get into a rhythm -Sleep loss is also cumulative. When you lose just 1 hour of sleep per day for a week, it will have the same effect on the body physiologically as an old fashioned college all-nighter. Establishing a solid routine is critical for finding that zone when you sleep your best.
4. Monitor Your Caffeine – There was a brilliant piece of marketing I saw when I was in college. I was in a coffee shop drinking my usual green tea when I noticed the sleeve on the coffee cup. It was a advertisement for a sleeping pill. I wondered how many people at coffee shops have sleeping issues….it was apparently enough for an investment from a pharmaceutical company. Getting your caffeiene levels normalized and figuring out the right timing can make a vast difference in sleep quality.