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Sleep deficit can cause obesity

Updated on June 13, 2012

Sleep deficit can cause obesity-

Normally, the majority of us require 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily for our body to function properly. If we don’t take the required amount of sleep over a period, we develop a sleep deficit. When chronically we are sleep deficient, it starts to effect our body adversely in many ways. It has been found conclusively that a chronic sleep deficit can reduce our metabolism, which in turn will make us overweight and obese.

Many studies have validated the connection between one’s sleep habits and obesity. Two hormones are supposed to be responsible for obesity as a result of sleep deficit. One of these hormones called leptin is released by the fat cells of our body. Normal quantity of leptin in our body prevents us from over-eating. The other hormone called ghrelin is released by the stomach, which sends signals whenever we are hungry. Thus, it regulates hunger. It has been firmly established that chronic sleep deficiency disturbs the release of the normal quantity of these two hormones, whereby leptin levels are reduced and ghrelin levels are increased. Together, they send the signals that our body needs more food for its increased energy requirements. Therefore, we start over-eating and develop a craving for sugary and calorie dense foods. As a result, we start putting on weight. The chronic sleep deprivation acts as a double whammy as it reduces our metabolism too. As a result, we start putting on weight faster.

It has also been found that chronic sleep deprivation causes stress in our body and chronic stress releases more of cortisol. Excess of cortisol is held responsible for causing obesity, especially central obesity.

Thus, we see that it is very important to develop good sleep habits if we want to maintain our ideal weight.


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