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Can sleep deprivation cause weight gain?

Have you ever considered that not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain weight? Research into sleep and weight is new and there is much to discover, but researchers know that sleep deprivation affects normal physiological functioning. In the short term this is not such a problem but consistently getting a bad nights sleep can disrupt hormones and metabolism and cause weight gain.

Grehlin is the hormone that stimulates the appetite. It tells us we are hungry. Lack of adequate sleep is thought to lead to an over-stimulation of grehlin, meaning we feel hungrier if we don’t get enough sleep. Leptin is the hormone that is meant to tell us that we are full up. Studies have shown that people with a shorter sleep cycle have reduced leptin and elevated grehlin levels. The imbalance between these two hormones is very likely to increase appetite.

Poor sleep patterns can have a range of side effects that impact on our weight. It can lead to bad food choices and lack of energy to exercise.

So how much sleep should we be aiming for? Most of us chase 8 hours a night but the amount of sleep we need comes down to the individual. How you feel when you wake up is a good indicator of whether you are getting enough sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night and are constantly waking up feeling un-refreshed, then good bedtime habits may be what you need…

• Consider what is contributing to your lack of sleep and whether you can takes steps to rectify it.
• Set yourself up with a calming bedtime routine. We are creatures of habit after all.
• Get rid of the TV, computer and any other electronics from the bedroom.
• Get blackout blinds and make sure the room is totally dark.
• Make exercise part of your daily routine.
• Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.

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