Sleep and Metabolism | Do Naps Help You Lose Weight

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Is there a connection between sleep and metabolism? Can you sleep your way to a slimmer waist? Or keep the weight off in the first place?

RELATED: Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

Is There a Connection between Sleep and Weight Loss?

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What Is the Connection between Sleep and Metabolism?

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Metabolism is the process by which your body turns chemicals into energy. Everything you do requires energy. Even as you sleep, your body uses up energy to perform normal functions.

Many factors affect your metabolism, including:

  • age
  • sex
  • genetics
  • body size
  • lean muscle mass
  • body fat
  • diet
  • hormonal balance
  • physical activity
  • climate or temperature

Growing evidence shows that lack of sleep and sleep disorders might also throw off your metabolism.

This involves changes in how your body interacts with glucose and regulates hormones.

Insulin is a hormone that's in charge of getting glucose into your cells to use as energy, then storing the rest for later. However, studies show that sleep deprivation may reduce your insulin sensitivity. This means that your body cannot use insulin effectively and ends up storing more fat.

It's also crucial to note that insulin sensitivity is a stepping stone to type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also a tremendous risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Another way getting less than six hours of sleep might cause gaining more weight is how sleep influences your leptin and ghrelin production.


Do We Eat More When We Sleep Less?

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Leptin and ghrelin are appetite accomplices.

Leptin suppresses your appetite. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry when you're not eating.

A 2004 human study shows that sleep deprivation may cause your leptin levels to drop by 19%.

Another 2004 clinical trial found that short sleep duration lead to an 18% decline in leptin levels, while ghrelin levels also rose by as much as 28%.

In addition, the subjects reported a 24% rise in their hunger ratings and a 23% rise in appetite ratings.

Multiple studies also show that those that lacked sleep craved more sweets, salty foods, and starchy foods, and sweets. Researchers also believe that staying up longer gives you more opportunities to get your fill.

So not only might you eat more because your hormones boost your appetite you might also end up eating fattening and unhealthy foods. And as you extend your waking hours, so do your chances to eat.

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People with sleep apnea may not get enough oxygen in their sleep. Your body responds by engaging the muscles in your airway, allowing oxygen to come through, and waking you up in the process.

Those with sleep apnea may have a hard time getting good, restorative sleep and might feel sleepy throughout the day.

Lack of sleep might also bring down their mood, make it harder to concentrate, and may lead to the development of depression.

Researchers show a relationship between sleep apnea and weight gain.

According to the NIH, sleep apnea may also lead to changes in your metabolism, increasing your risk for obesity and diabetes.

Have you heard of stress eating? Sleep apnea may also increase your cortisol levels, which may contribute to the development of weight gain and obesity.

If you're concerned about mild sleep apnea and weight gain, consult with your physician. Anecdotal evidence shows that melatonin supplements may help you get some rest. However, these treatments are not FDA-regulated, so consult with a doctor first.

But if you're losing sleep over severe sleep apnea and weight gain, surgery might be in the cards. When left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to more problems than tired eyes.

RELATED: Falling Asleep Quickly

Why Do We Need Sleep?

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Sleep is more than just a way for people to close the door on another day. During bedtime, your body works the night shift to repair, fuel up, and prepare you for the next day.

When we rest, our body goes on hyperdrive.

  • The brain organizes your memories and stores them for later use
  • Growth hormones are released, which promotes muscle mass and tissue repair
  • Sleep may promote heart health as your blood pressure lowers during rest
  • Can improve your body's ability to fight inflammation and infections

A lack of sleep is known to result in:

  • poor memory
  • poor brain power
  • moodiness

Chronic lack of sleep may also cause:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • heart attack
  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • depression
  • poor immunity
  • lower libido

What does this have to do with weight gain?

Just look at how much a lack of sleep can do with your body. And obesity may compound all these health risks.

The consequences of obesity may include:

  • all-cause mortality
  • high blood pressure
  • high levels of bad cholesterol
  • high levels of triglycerides
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • sleep apnea or other breathing problems
  • low quality of life
  • mental illnesses or disorders
  • other diseases

Living a healthy lifestyle has a lot to do with your daily habits. And that includes getting sufficient rest.

Someone starved of sleep might end up getting their fill on food.

Sleep and weight form an endless cycle. Lack of sleep is related to weight gain. And weight gain is known to lead to the development of sleep apnea.

With the sleep disruption your sleep apnea may cause, you could end up losing much-needed sleep, which circles back to weight gain.

Can Lack of Sleep Lead To Weight Gain?

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Yes. But we're still in the process of figuring out how this works.

There are many ways sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain. It includes factors like hormone levels (insulin, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol) and your metabolism.

Do naps help you lose weight?

While taking quick naps in the middle of the day can help reboot and refresh your mind, no evidence suggests that afternoon naps can result in weight loss. And despite the stigma behind it, there's no science that says that eating after a meal can lead to weight gain either.

However, it may lead to acid reflux.

What we do know is that sleep is important in keeping your mind and body in their best shape. And if you get 7-8 hours of sleep, that shape could appear slender and healthy.

Here's an infographic guide that you can use. Feel free to download, save and share it with your loved ones:
Sleep and Metabolism

Watch this video from alpha m for tips on how to lose weight while sleeping:

Sleep can be a powerful tool in managing your weight.

Let this be a wake-up call—or rather a bedtime reminder—to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

What are your tips and tricks to getting your zzz's?

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