For years now, doctors do their best to point out just how dangerous obesity is for someone’s health.
It’s proven that obesity negatively affects the human body, mental satisfaction and creates strong health consequences.
Lately, scientists have started talking about links between obesity and sleep. It turns out that obesity puts a person at a high risk of sleep problems.
Learn about the links between obesity and sleep and how poor sleep can lead to weight gain.
Obesity And Sleep: Understanding Risks
It’s no secret that people all over the place are consuming more and more calories each day, and Americans are no exception.
If you look at pets – cats and dogs across the States, you will see that they are becoming bigger as well. As if people project their nutritional needs to pets.
Since this is a burning issue of the modern world, it feels only honest to talk about its consequences.
People consume more calories, engage less in physical activity, allowing obesity to grow.
This kind of lifestyle puts health in danger in the most obvious ways as obesity has been linked to various health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.
Body Mass Index
To see if someone is obese or not, doctors use a simple formula. This formula is also known as the body mass index (BMI), which shows just how healthy a person’s overall being is.
The body mass index is used to measure to correlate weight and height. The main point of BMI is to estimate your relative body fat.
The final number helps to categorize people based on weight:
- Underweight (BMI <18.5)
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9)
- Overweight (BMI 25-29.9)
- Obese (BMI 30-34.9)
- Morbidly obese (BMI 35 and higher)
This index isn’t perfect, but it can help to estimate body fat and muscles. Not sure how to estimate your BMI? Do it online.
Overall, the amount of excess body fat you have can strongly correlate with your degree of risk for developing health problems from being overweight, including health issues related to sleep.
Can just a few extra pounds on your body have a huge negative effect on your body? In general, no. However, excessive body mass can put high pressure on your overall health.
Simply said, the more pounds you put on, the stronger effects it may have. Furthermore, if you are obese, you are at the highest risk for various complications.
Weight Gain Leads to Sleep Problems
If you eat high-quality food that promotes health and you sleep enough, the chances are that you are healthy.
On the other hand, if you have a poor diet and graver sleep, you are more likely to have weight and sleep issues.
Sleep is one of the most important components of a healthy person that its lack can disturb overall health negatively.
Sleep loos creates a hormone imbalance in the body that promotes overeating and weight gain.
Hormones that regulate appetite are leptin and ghrelin, and when you don’t get enough sleep, the production of these hormones is altered – they start creating strong and increased feelings of hunger.
Therefore, sleep deprivation is associated with growth hormone deficiency and elevated cortisol levels, both of which are directly linked to obesity.
Plus, poor sleep can impair your metabolism of food. However, the effects of poor sleep can create the effects of hunger.
The effects of sleep loss on weight aren’t limited to changes at the chemical level, and restricted sleep duration has been shown to cause a greater tendency to select food that is rich in high-calories.
If you consume high-calorie foods at night, you can expect an increased risk of weight gain.
On top of that, if you don’t get enough exercise, your body will accumulate fat fast, and it will be harder for you to lose weight.
How Does Being Overweight Affect Sleep?
People who are obese – regardless of the level of their obesity, are more likely to report trouble sleeping or experiencing insomnia, opposite to those who are not obese.
This link is the main reason why doctors urge about obesity and sleep issues.
There is also evidence to witness that obesity is associated with increased fatigue and daytime sleepiness. This applies even to people who sleep through the night, undisturbed.
Various research states that obesity can even change metabolism and/or sleep-wake cycles in such a way that it can affect sleep quality.
Sleep can affect many sleep problems, and some of them are more found in people who are obese or overweight.
Here are the most common sleep-related issues caused by obesity:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): this is a sleep disorder in which airways are blocked, causing loud snoring and breathing issues. Some people tend to completely lose their breath, and in some rare cases, death may occur.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): this is a chronic condition where stomach content literally leaks into the esophagus and causes symptoms such as heartburn.
- Depression: obesity and depression have some form of reciprocal relationship. Simply said, obesity can cause depression and depression symptoms, while depression can lead to weight gain. People who suffer from depression are more likely to suffer from numerous sleep issues.
- Asthma: this is one of the world’s biggest respiratory issues. In medical terms, asthma is a respiratory condition involving inflammation of the airway. In this case, obesity increases one’s risk for asthma and can make night symptoms worse, leading directly to difficulties falling and staying asleep.
- Osteoarthritis: this is a joint disorder marked by worn-down cartilage. Being overweight can cause osteoarthritis because extra weight puts additional strain on the joints. Osteoarthritis comes with pain, depression, and disturbed sleep, which additionally disturbs sleep.
Can You Get Better Sleep When Overweight?
Sleep hygiene may seem like an ordinary term, but in reality, it stands for serious devotion and health.
Sleep hygiene is practicing a routine that supports a good night’s sleep. This is important for everyone, regardless the age, sex, and overall health.
Sleep hygiene involves:
- Sleep schedule
- A steady bedtime routine
- Healthy daily routines
To achieve this incorporate regular exercise time into your schedule. Avoid heavy workouts before your bedtime, and if it works for you, try light yoga before your bedtime. Lose weight.
Spend more time outdoors, and expose yourself to more natural light.
Have the right sleeping gear and have a high-quality mattress and a pillow.
Clean them properly and if you have any blower back problems, learn what sleeping position works for you the best. Don’t put extra pressure on your back during the night.
Eat smarter. Avoid junk food and focus on heaving a well-planned meal day that will nourish your body.
Diet and nutrition are important factors when it comes to sleep hygiene, with sleep loss making it more challenging. Drink enough water. Staying hydrated is important for both body and mind. Plus, we are often thirsty and not hungry.
The Bottom Line
The sleep and loss-weight-gain cycle can be a tricky one to break. They usually go hand in hand.
If you are dealing with poor sleep for days, it’s time to visit a doctor. Try to write a sleep diary. This will help you reflect on your daily habits and help you understand better your sleep quality.
If possible, write a journal or eating habits, or just download an app for faster tracking. By doing so, you can help your doctor understand your body needs better and prescribe you the best possible treatment.
Obesity can lead to unexpected health disorders, including restless leg syndrome.
Did you know that if you lose only 10% of your body’s weight, you may significantly reduce ground for any health or sleep-related issues?
There is a strong link between obesity and sleep deprivation, which can be weakened by proper diet, consistent hydration, and everyday sleep hygiene. Do your body a favor and mind your sleep.