"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Can lack of sleep trigger food “addiction”?

We've all heard it. Maybe a few of us have said it too. Phrases like “no willpower” and “can't push off the table” are sometimes used to disparage an obese or obese person's lack of “motivation” to manage their eating habits. But, is that this really the principal explanation for weight gain?

It's a straightforward dietary principle that if calories consumed exceed calories expended, weight can be gained. Therefore, most weight reduction programs deal with cutting calories. Many see failure to follow these practices as an absence of motivation, dedication, or mental toughness. However, there's now growing evidence that the “energy deficit” might be explained by chemical and hormonal changes that occur consequently of sleep deprivation.

There is a growing body of information that supports the link between obesity and insufficient sleep. The increase within the obesity epidemic on this country over the past 40 years has been correlated with a progressive decrease in the quantity of sleep reported by the common adult. In large population-based studies, obesity has been related to less sleep. But if this connection is true, what may be the connection between lack of sleep and weight gain?

Oh Recent Empirical Studies Published in Journal to sleep provides some clues. Sleep restriction of 4.5 hours per night was in comparison with normal sleep for each 4 nights in a gaggle of young, healthy adults. When measured at the tip of 4 days, the ratio of ghrelin (which increases appetite) and leptin (which decreases appetite), the two hormones answerable for hunger levels, were shifted in favor of greater hunger. Other studies have observed the identical thing. However, this study measured something that others had not: breakfast consumption, particularly those high in fat and protein, was higher after sleep restriction—and, surprisingly, greater than Participants' levels of endocannabinoids increased with time consuming more breakfast. Endocannabinoids are chemicals that stimulate appetite (like ghrelin), but more importantly, also stimulate reward centers within the brain. Thus, this finding suggests that sleep restriction may make the act of eating more satisfying. Could or not it's that insufficient sleep causes weight gain by activating the brain to make eating more palatable? If so, the “lack of energy” might not be because of personal weakness, but fairly the results of an addictive chemical imbalance resulting from lack of sleep.

There is little question that this interesting discovery needs further investigation. However, this already provides additional evidence that adequate sleep is important for optimal health, and specifically, for fighting obesity. It also suggests that greater efforts are needed by public health officials, individual physicians, and most people to realize the 7 hours or more of sleep per night really useful by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.