Tag Archives: sleep

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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

Source: Tuck – Advancing Better Sleep


Sleep Deprivation And Weight GainGood sleep helps control weight. Poor sleep leads to weight gain and vice versa. These are general statements, of course, and individual experience may vary, but if you are trying to diet and lose weight or you are trying to improve your sleep, it pays to keep these interactions in mind.

Obesity rates have risen in the US and worldwide in recent years as sleep times have (possibly) declined. It is important to not read too much into this. It is interesting, though, and there may be a little bit of cause-and-effect going on.


Sleep Deprivation And Weight Gain

Sleep loss and deprivation causes a host of problems from irritability to impaired cognition, the most notable of which is weight gain.

Sleep deprivation affects four primary hormones related to weight gain.

  • Ghrelin, nicknamed the hunger hormone, tells your brain when it’s hungry and it should eat.
  • Leptin, nicknamed the satiety hormone, tells your brain when it’s full.
  • Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates upon waking and conserves energy as fat reserves to use as fuel during your day.
  • Insulin is a peptide hormone that regulates your body’s ability to process food into energy.


Sleep deprivation increases your ghrelin production and reduces your leptin production, so your brain thinks it’s hungrier more often, and is less able to recognize when it’s full. Sleep deprivation also affects your body’s ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates. As a result, you’ll experience higher blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin and cortisol production. As your insulin resistance grows, your body doesn’t process fat and sugars as well, instead storing more of it as fat, resulting in weight gain.



Sleep deprivation also reduces your self-control, making it difficult to stick to a diet or making one more prone to indulge in junk food. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived individuals were likelier to eat high-carb snacks and engage in more late-night snacking that individuals who received sufficient sleep.

Individuals who slept less than 5 hours per night were likelier to consume more calories, less water, and more carbohydrates overall, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Appetite.

Some researchers have even equated the cravings associated with sleep deprivation to be similar to those brought on by marijuana use.

Sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to snack later at night, eat bigger portions, and experience higher cravings for high-carbohydrate and fat-rich foods. Making matters worse is that sleep deprivation also reduces your energy and increases fatigue, so you’re less inclined to exercise and work off that extra weight gain.

What does all this mean? When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you’re likelier to gain weight. It’s important to get enough quality uninterrupted sleep during the night (typically 7 to 7.5 hours for the average adult) to maintain a healthy weight.


Insomnia And Weight

Insomnia can be caused by both physical and emotional factors. Many individuals experience stressful or anxious thoughts as a result of their weight, whether they weigh a “normal” amount or not. These thoughts can lead to depression, which is a co-morbid condition with insomnia. People who are stressed, depressed, or anxious have a tougher time falling asleep at night.

Insomnia is also linked with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Some individuals rely on diet pills and weight loss products that wreak havoc on the body and typically contain sleep-disrupting stimulants like caffeine or guarana. Furthermore, dieting individuals or those with an eating disorder are prone to ingesting higher amounts of caffeine than normal in an attempt to maintain their energy levels despite reduced caloric intake – this can energize the body and make it tougher to sleep at night.

Behavioral therapy can help individuals with insomnia as much of it is related to managing thought processes and behaviors. Insomnia stemming from a physical condition such as obesity or sleep apnea can be treated by addressing the physical condition first. Insomnia from an emotional condition can be alleviated by avoiding high caloric intake and snacking late at night, sticking to a strict bedtime and wake schedule, and incorporating relaxation techniques before bed. Melatonin has also been shown to be an effective sleep aid for insomnia.

Can insomnia cause you to lose weight? In most cases, insomnia causes sleep deprivation that in turn causes weight gain. In the instances where insomnia causes sleep loss, it is often correlated with increased levels of physical activity during the day that counteract the effects of the sleep deprivation.


Does Sleeping Late Cause Weight Gain?

Despite all this talk about the importance of getting sufficient sleep to prevent weight gain, it’s important not to confuse the relationship between sleep and weight gain. Sleeping too late, or oversleeping, does not result in sleep loss. In fact, it may do the reverse.

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine found that late sleepers consume more calories overall, typically later in the day, and don’t eat as well either – consuming less fruits and vegetables, and twice as much fast food and sodas than early risers. If late sleepers don’t take care to exercise, these additional calories can amount to as many as 2 pounds per month in weight gain for night owls. Plus, overeating at night energizes the body, which can cause these night owls to suffer from insomnia.

The Northwestern study also noted the importance of not only how many calories you consume, but also the timing of your meals in relation to your circadian clock. Your circadian rhythms regulate many of your bodily functions, including your metabolism, core body temperature, hormone production, organ function, and sleep-wake cycle.


Metabolic Syndrome

Lack of sleep increases your risk for metabolic syndrome. Fragmented sleep disrupts glucose levels and can lead to related disorders. Metabolic syndrome is marked by two or more of the following: hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity, especially with excess weight in the belly. It is very common in middle-aged Americans.

Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day over a sustained period can increase your body’s insulin resistance. Due to hectic work schedules, many people accumulate sleep debt during the workweek and aim to makeup for it on the weekend. However, this pattern can result in long-term metabolic problems that lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity, one 2015 study found.

Here are some scary numbers that should convince you of the value of sleep. A study found individuals who receive 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome than individuals who receive 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Further long sleepers also have an increased risk of the syndrome.

An article published in the scientific Journal Sleep a few years ago went so far as to claim sleep problems could predict the onset of metabolic syndrome. Both loud snoring and difficulty falling asleep were correlated with later development of the syndrome. Further, for people without other risk factors, loud snoring (but not difficulty falling asleep) increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. The authors suggest that sleep fragmentation caused by snoring may lead to both weight gain and an immune system response with higher levels of stress markers in the body.

In general, sleep disturbances can increase oxidative stress which may contribute to weight gain. And of course, apnea, often precipitated by excessive body weight, causes fragmented sleep and stress on the body.


Improving Sleep Through Diet

Can losing weight help you get better sleep? Yes. One study of obese people found that weight loss surgery significantly reduced their sleep problems, reducing snoring from 82% to 14%, sleep apnea from 33% to 2%, daytime sleepiness from 39% to 4%, and poor sleep quality from 39% to 2%.

Sleeping more than 9 hours or less than 6 hours is linked with increased weight gain. Adjusting your sleep time to somewhere in the 7 to 7.5-hour range may help you shed some extra pounds.


Sleep Apnea

Affecting an estimated 18 million Americans, sleep apnea describes sleep-disordered breathing that causes the individual to stop breathing during sleep. In its mildest forms, it causes heavy snoring by the individual, and in extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the person can gasp and choke to the point that they are repeatedly roused from sleep during the night. Sleep apnea is heavily associated with obesity, heart attacks, stroke, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Being overweight puts one at higher risk of sleep apnea, because the increased weight can put more pressure on the airways and make it more difficult to breathe during the night. Because many individuals with sleep apnea are also overweight, they may be less prone to exercise or eat well. Further, the daytime sleepiness resulting from their sleep apnea may make them even less inclined to change diet or exercise, since they experience lowered energy levels, poorer mood, and decreased self-control from accumulated sleep loss.

Treating sleep apnea with the use of a CPAP machine can lessen symptoms, leading an affected individual to get more quality, less-disrupted sleep during the night. Plus, better sleep alleviates the symptoms of sleep deprivation, making it easier for individuals to alter their diet and begin an exercise program.

Weight loss is often prescribed as a treatment for sleep apnea, based on studies showing that weight loss can reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.


Paleo And Low-Carb Diets

Individuals who adhere to a paleo or low-carb diet may find themselves suffering from insomnia. Typically, diet-related insomnia subsists after the first few nights, once your body has adjusted to the new regimen and/or reduced caloric intake. However, if it persists after the first few nights, you may need to incorporate more carbohydrate-rich foods into your diet to help your sleep cycle return to normal.

Carbohydrate-rich foods induces sleep onset by assisting tryptophan and serotonin production in your brain, which helps reduce anxiety and kicks off a melatonin release, causing you to fall asleep. Low-carb diets restrict the foods you eat that are tied to bigger releases of insulin. Insulin helps your body turn tryptophan into serotonin, and carbohydrate-rich foods induce insulin production more than those with fewer carbohydrates.

While in the long-term, low-carb diets help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels by stabilizing your energy, in the short-term the lack of carbohydrates feels like a shock to your system as your body strains to convert the tryptophan to serotonin, interrupting your sleep in the process. If you’re prone to eating sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods, a better approach is to ease into your low-carb diet rather than going cold turkey. This makes it easier for your body to adjust, which may make it easier for you to stick to your diet as well. Gradually trim the carbohydrates in your diet over a period of several days.

On the other hand, if you’re allowed a certain amount of carbohydrates in your diet plan, shift your carbohydrate-rich meals to later in the day, when they’re likelier to induce sleep.


More Tips For Trouble Sleeping While Dieting

Dieters are prone to drink more, whether they’re on a liquid diet or they’re just drinking more water to feel full. This can increase your nighttime bathroom trips and interfere with sleep, so be careful to watch your liquid intake later in the day to avoid this from happening.

Hunger makes it tougher to fall asleep. A small healthy snack before bedtime can help, especially if composed of one of these foods that help you sleep better.

A final recommendation for ensuring a longer, better night’s sleep includes watching your stimulant intake later in the day (caffeine, alcohol, etc).

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Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of Exercise

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Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of Exercise

Source: PsyBlog

429,110 adults were asked about 10 types of activities and how much sleep they typically got each night.


Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of ExerciseActivities like aerobics, biking, gardening, golfing, running, weight-lifting, and yoga or Pilates are associated with better sleep habits, research finds. Even people who just walked had healthier sleep habits had healthier sleep habits than those that did not.

It was better for sleep habits, though, to add a slightly more vigorous activity than just walking. Household activities and childcare, though, are linked to worse sleep habits.

The conclusions come from surveys of 429,110 adults.
They were asked about 10 types of activities and how much sleep they typically got each night.


Dr Michael Grandner, who led the study, said:


“Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising.

Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf.

It was also interesting that people who receive most of their activity from housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep — we know that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep.”


Dr Grandner continued:


“These results are consistent with the growing scientific literature on the role of sleep in human performance.

Lab studies show that lack of sleep is associated with poor physical and mental performance, and this study shows us that this is consistent with real-world data as well.

Since these results are correlational, more studies are needed to help us understand whether certain kinds of physical activity can actually improve or worsen sleep, and how sleep habits help or hurt a person’s ability to engage in specific types of activity.”

The study was presented at SLEEP 2015, the 29th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.


About the author:

Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog and HealthiestBlog.com. His latest book is “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick“. You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

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Fibromyalgia Dilemma: Tips on How to Sleep Better

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Fibromyalgia Dilemma: Tips on How to Sleep Better

Posted by KRISXI | NOVEMBER 5, 2012
Source: healthresource4u.com

Diagnostic form with diagnosis Fibromyalgia and pills.As humans, we will instinctively avoid pain no matter how the reality presents itself. But in the case of people with fibromyalgia, pain takes a different form, like a bad story told – and worse, it eventually snatches them of their lives.

Pain Problem

Unknown to many, fibromyalgia is a syndrome highly associated with body-wide pain including tenderness in joints and muscles. People affected by it also experience chronic extreme fatigue, to the point that they would just crawl up to their beds right after dinner.  It is more common in women aged 30-50 years old, although it can affect both sexes and people at any age. Adding insult to injury, this condition has no known cure, and many patients need to have an ample amount of supplementation of vitamins and minerals in order to battle with the syndrome.

Although pain is already a big problem among these patients, another massive issue that poses threat to their comfort is the problem they have with sleeping. Many people affected with the disease often have no way to go: for pain decreases the quality of sleep, and lack of sleep further increases pain. This is where the combination of sleep difficulty and pain takes its toll on people with fibromyalgia.

For people with fibromyalgia are more likely to experience sleeping difficulty (and thus increasing their pain), it is vital to note some points on how they can improve their night’s rest. An adequate sleep during the night could help manage the widespread pain that they feel during the morning. Go over these tips find out how to make pain management could be highly improved by a good night’s rest.


Don’t Stay Excessively Long Hours In Bed

Many people with fibromyalgia may be tempted to go back to sleep after waking up, for the fatigue that they feel is actually worse in the morning. But they shouldn’t, because extremely long sleeps often result to fragment and shallow rest at night time. It is enough to get adequate sleep that is just sufficient to feel refreshed for the day. Oversleeping will definitely aggravate one’s condition since it’ll be difficult for you to sleep at night. It is strongly advised not to take afternoon naps, since the effect is the same.


Establish Your Routine

Sleeping and waking up at the same time each day may be hard at first, but it will really pay off great later on. As this process strengthens circadian rhythm, it also promotes regular time of sleep onset. Avoid also long hours of daytime naps as this could make you stay up longer than usual at night. It’s like making your body memorize your circadian rhythm; you will definitely feel tired at the right time, and you’ll wake up at the right pace.


Avoid Antagonistic Foods And Activities

It is already a general knowledge that one should get rid of caffeine just before going to sleep, but also alcohol should not be considered as a downer even. Both of the substances disturb your sleep. It’s never good to sleep hungry as well, since your tummy might just wake you up. Take a light snack of carbohydrates before resigning to help you with your sleep; it’s a natural reaction of our body to rest while digesting. However, eat light snacks instead of a heavy meal to avoid that bloated feeling. Of course, don’t take in stimulant beverages such as carbonated drinks. Stop sipping that coffee or tea late at night; coffee and tea contain caffeine that is a stimulant.


Get Active, But Not Too Much

Sure exercise could promote sleep in the evening, but it should not be done at least three hours prior to your scheduled rest. The stimulation that exercise can bring you might make it difficult for you to fall asleep. If you are still having difficulty sleeping, though you have exercised for the day, try the next tip.


Relaxation Is The Key

Deep breathing exercises, massage, aromatherapy, and a cool, quiet environment are undeniably a potentiator of a quality sleep at night. A gentle massage, especially, can help you calm your muscles right before bedtime, and thus, giving way to a better quality sleep. Aromatherapy works a lot since it does not only soothe your nerves, but it also sets the mood into a deep, relaxing feeling. You can alleviate the pain by guided imagery; imagine yourself in a relaxing setting, or you could have your partner help you imagine a relaxing scenery. Meditation works best if you can still handle the pain brought about by your condition.


It May Be Your Bed

It is important for patients with fibromyalgia to support their joints, and not cushion those. That is a too soft bed does really no advantage over some joint pains these people may feel. Clinicians now recommend that the best mattress for patients with fibromyalgia is a memory mattress, as these follow the contour of your body, exerting lesser pressure in your muscles and especially on your joints. However, memory foam mattress does sleep hot on the surface, that is why other doctors recommend a gel foam for a mattress which actually sinks into the foam and absorbs the heat. Some of the best mattresses in the market can cost a lot, but there are some which cost less than those in the mainstream but still give you the relief that you need.

We cannot just deny the fact that fibromyalgia has indeed been a major dilemma for those who are afflicted with it. If you have fibromyalgia, there are lots of websites offering free help and guidance for your condition. If you know a loved one with this condition, all you can give to him or her is patience, tender love, and care. During pain attacks, be the person he or she could hang onto and help him or her relax by breathing in and out. We may not be able to comprehend the pain that they are going through, but we can help them make it through the everyday struggles because of the support we give.

This is a guest post by Krisxi from DivanCentre.co.uk