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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


The Chemical Connection between Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

Mark Neumann

Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.jpg

Despite the societal ideas to the contrary, sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. It’s the time where your body and brain rest and rejuvenate. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that we don’t need as much sleep to survive the day, powering through on caffeine and high energy. And while these methods can keep us conscious, they end up hindering several other functions in our bodies.

One such area lack of sleep can affect is your weight. Besides slowing down your capacity to lose weight, you can gain pounds from getting less than your needed seven to eight hours of sleep per night. So why does this happen? It comes down to your body’s internal chemicals.

Hormones, Sleep, and Eating

As mentioned, sleep is the way your body rejuvenates from the day and gets ready for the next one. Besides repairing injuries, your body also works to balance out chemicals and hormones while you sleep. One major function that regulates while you rest is your metabolism, which affects the rate at which your body burns through calories and fat, a critical part of weight balance. But that’s not all.

Two major hormones play a role in your eating habits:

  • Ghrelin, and
  • Leptin

They work as a sort of pair that helps your body understand when to eat. Ghrelin reminds you that you’re hungry, while leptin lets you know when to stop because you have the nutrients you need. As you may guess, an imbalance can negatively impact your weight.

And that’s just what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. In response, your body overproduces ghrelin and underproduces leptin. Because you don’t have enough rest to recover your energy, your body attempts to rectify this by eating extra food and running your metabolism slower, so you store more fat for later use. With all those processes working together, you’re more likely to gain weight and not lose it at the rate you want.

The Best Level of Sleep to Balance Your Body’s Hormones

The average amount of seven to eight hours to sleep can seem impossible to achieve, especially when we congratulate each other for getting by on less sleep. However, people who average 7.5 hours of restful sleep per night have much more balanced levels of ghrelin and leptin, plus more effective metabolisms.

Still, sleeping more won’t automatically mean you’ll start dropping pounds. It will, however, put your body in a much more receptive position to keep away weight gain and respond to better diet and exercise habits, plus help your physical and mental health all around. When you’re aiming to achieve a healthier weight, getting appropriate rest is a step you can’t deny the chemical benefits of.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re ready to shed that stubborn belly fat for good, click or call the office at 734-847-4700 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Neumann to find out if you’re an appropriate candidate for an HCG program.