(Natural News) Sleep deprivation and obesity have long been associated with each other, and for the longest time, this was believed to be due to late night snacking. However, a recent study suggests that the relationship between these two runs deeper than people initially thought. In a study in Science Advances, researchers found that a single night of sleep deprivation significantly alters a person’s metabolism and ability to store fat.
Obesity is one of the most prevalent diseases in the modern world, affecting more than 93.3 million people in the U.S. alone. The increasing incidence of this condition can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise, and even sleep. Although many studies have established the relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity, there’s still not much known about the molecular mechanisms behind this.
In this study, the researchers collected fat, muscle, and blood samples from 15 healthy participants in two instances, which are after a night of sleep deprivation and after getting sufficient sleep. This was done to determine possible changes in metabolic activity. The results showed that sleep deprivation effectively alters fat cells so that they can generate and absorb more lipids. The researchers also observed lower levels of proteins in the muscles that were responsible for building and maintaining muscle mass. Moreover, there was an increase in inflammation associated with Type 2 diabetes after a night of sleep deprivation.
Dr. Jonathan Cedernaes, who is a circadian researcher from Uppsala University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, said that their results prove that sleep has an irreplaceable role not just in conserving energy but for other functions as well.
This study shows that getting enough sleep can potentially reduce the risk of obesity. (Related: Children and pre-teens who lack sleep are 58% more likely to become obese as adults.)
Other consequences of sleep deprivation
If that’s not enough to convince you to start getting some rest, then consider the other consequences that sleep deprivation may have on your health, which include the following:
- Cardiovascular diseases — Studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes since this can cause inflammation or interfere with the brain’s ability to control the cardiovascular system. It has also been shown to increase blood pressure and heart rate.
- Depression and anxiety — After a long night of unrest, people tend to become irritable and moody so it’s not shocking that a long period of sleep deprivation could lead to depression or anxiety.
- Impaired brain functions — Sleep is essential for creating and maintaining connections between the different brain cells, which are needed for memory. Moreover, sleep deprivation also makes it harder to concentrate and coordinate the different parts of your body. This increases the risk of injuries and accidents that could even be fatal.
- Infertility — Not getting enough sleep also interferes with the secretion of hormones like estrogen and testosterone, that can make it difficult to produce reproductive cells. Additionally, sleep deprivation also lowers libido.
- Weak immune system — As a person sleeps, his body produces substances known as cytokines that help fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Not only will sleep deprivation make you more susceptible to diseases, but it will also make the recovery period longer.
How to get more sleep?
Sleeping is great, but it doesn’t always come easily. To reduce the time that you waste before sleep with just staring at the ceiling or counting sheep, give the following tips a try:
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Avoid medications that have insomnia as one of their side effects.
- Follow a bedtime routine.
- Exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
- Wear a sleep mask to block out light.
For more articles about fighting obesity at FightObesity.news.