Getting Enough Sleep Can be Key to Weight Management
Sleep. To those of us it comes easily to and are able to indulge in at least 8 hours a night, we often take it for granted. But those who suffer from a lack of it may not realize how too many waking hours can lead to weight gain.
Whether you have chronic sleep problems, work strange hours, or just consider yourself a “night person,” a new study published in Sweden’s Science Advances says a lack of sleep can slow down metabolism. Their research took a small sampling of 15 adults who were at normal weight and then had them go through two lab sessions where at one point they slept for eight hours and at another they were kept awake the entire night. After each session, researchers took tissue samples from the subcutaneous fat (the fat that rests under your skin), along with skeletal muscle in order to show where metabolism has been impacted. Then they took blood samples.
What they found was that those participants who lost a night of sleep displayed a tissue-specific shift in DNA methylation, a process that regulates gene expression. Those who got a normal night’s sleep, didn’t show the change. They concluded that their findings could be significant in helping people better understand the adverse effects sleep loss can have on overall health.
The study also studies how adipose tissue, a key organ, is tied to many of the negative effects on the body that come from disrupted sleep and circadian rhythms — particularly relevant if you are someone who does shift-based work. It demonstrated how disrupted sleep cycles that accompany working night shifts one day and a regular morning start the next can really throw off your metabolism and increase your risk of obesity or type 2 diabetes.
Aric A. Prather, PhD, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and Weill Institute for Neurosciences at University of California, San Francisco, told Healthline that while some previous studies have looked at how sleep loss can lead to changes in the metabolic hormones tied to a person’s weight, this study takes it a step further.
“Results from this study provide new insights into the multitude of molecular mechanisms through which sleep loss can affect metabolism and potentially weight gain,” said Prather, who was not part of this research.
It’s no small matter how much impact sleep — and the lack of it — can have on our lives. Our instant gratification culture, laden with devices that keep us connected to media, entertainment, our work and our social lives give us little time to make sleep a priority.In my opinion, it’s time to consider it as important as food, water, and Game of Thrones. Evidently the medical community thinks similarly.