How Your Sleep Habits Affect Weight Management
Sleep is an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep can lead to increased calorie consumption, decreased energy expenditure, and hormonal changes that can affect your appetite. Poor sleep habits can also make it more difficult for you to stick to a healthy eating plan and exercise routine. In this article, we will explore how your sleep habits can impact your weight management efforts and what you can do to ensure adequate restful sleep.
Good Sleep Habits To Manage Your Weight
“We and others have proven over the years that sleep deprivation has an influence on appetite management, which leads to increased food intake and hence puts you at risk for weight gain over time.” Esra Tasali, MD, Director of the UChicago Sleep Center at the University of Chicago Medicine.
Good sleep habits include going to bed at the same time every night, avoiding screens before bedtime, keeping your bedroom dark and cool, exercising regularly during the day, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and creating a relaxing nighttime routine. By developing these habits you can ensure that you are getting enough quality rest each night which will help support your weight management goals.
Here are some options for you to think about:
- Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- Limit your exposure to artificial light before bedtime and sleep in a dark atmosphere.
- Try to have your main meal (the largest meal of the day) before 3 p.m.
- Reduce your stress.
- Adjust your sleep schedule to begin earlier in the evening.
Sleep and Obesity in Children
Dozens of research from five continents have looked at the relationship between sleep duration and childhood obesity. Most (but not all) studies have identified a strong link between insufficient sleep and increasing weight. The greatest evidence has come from studies that studied the sleep habits of large numbers of children over extended periods of time while simultaneously controlling for the numerous other factors that may raise children’s obesity risk, such as obesity in parents, television time, and physical activity.
According to a British study that monitored over 8,000 children from birth, those who slept fewer than 10 and a half hours a night at age 3 had a 45 percent increased chance of being fat by age 7, compared to those who slept more than 12 hours a night. Similarly, Project Viva, a 915-child prospective cohort study in the United States, discovered that newborns who slept for less than 12 hours per day had double the risks of becoming fat at age 3, compared to those who slept for 12 hours or more. Shorter sleep duration was linked to maternal sadness during pregnancy, the introduction of solid meals before the age of four months, and infant TV viewing.
Sleep and Adult Obesity
The Nurses’ Health Research, which tracked 68,000 middle-aged women for up to 16 years, is the biggest and longest study on adult sleep patterns and weight to date. Women who slept 5 hours or less per night were 15% more likely to become obese throughout the course of the trial than women who slept 7 hours each night. A similar study looked at the relationship between working a rotating night shift-an irregular schedule that mixes day and evening work with a few night shifts, throwing off circadian rhythms and impairing sleep-and the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II, a cohort of younger women. Researchers discovered that the longer women worked a rotating night shift, the more likely they were to acquire diabetes and obesity.
Other researchers have conducted smaller, shorter studies on adult sleep patterns and weight in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Some studies have established a relationship between insufficient sleep and obesity, whereas others have not. Surprisingly, a few adult studies have found that obtaining too much sleep is associated with an increased risk of obesity. This is most likely owing to a phenomenon known as “reverse causation” among experts. People who sleep longer than usual may have an obesity-related ailment that has contributed to their extended sleep habits—for example, sleep apnea, obstructive lung disease, depression, or cancer—rather than obesity causing lengthy sleep.
Alison Caldwell, P.D. (2022) Getting more sleep reduces caloric intake, a game changer for weight loss programs, UChicago Medicine. UChicago Medicine. Available at: https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/research-and-discoveries-articles/getting-more-sleep-reduces-caloric-intake (Accessed: January 25, 2023).
The connection between Sleep & Weight Gain (no date) Drop Bio Health. Available at: https://www.dropbiohealth.com/health-resources/the-connection-between-sleep-weight-gain (Accessed: January 25, 2023).
Sleep (2016) Obesity Prevention Source. Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and-obesity/ (Accessed: January 25, 2023).
About The Contributor
CiCi Nguyen is a digital marketer and SEO specialist for B2B SaaS businesses and the healthcare industry, assisting firms in increasing their exposure, search ranks, and organic traffic.