Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

sleep deprivation and weight gainDid you know that there is an association between inadequate sleep and obesity? This is according to Lawrence J. Cheskin, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. The Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source also has an interesting article about a study done on 60,000 women over 16 years, and the possible link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. To be fair, Dr. Cheskin admits that the cause-and-effect relationship is “dubious”. But read the two articles, and decide for yourself.

We already know that having poor sleep can affect our health. Our immune response is lowered for one thing. Doesn’t it just make sense also that not getting enough sleep could possibly cause weight gain? If you look at the increasing numbers of obese adults in America, there could be many reasons why each one of them has that tendency. This isn’t to suggest that there is one thing (not getting enough sleep) that is causing weight gain in the general population all across the board. But, it could be a contributor that we haven’t really paid much attention to before. Doesn’t stress cause people to overeat? And can’t stress come from not getting enough sleep? Are people getting less sleep overall over the past few years, especially over worries in connection with the economy? Maybe people are working more hours and taking on more jobs for lesser pay. Of course, the studies done have been over longer periods of time, and not necessarily recently, but it does make one wonder if the pace of the obesity epidemic is picking up as of late (just the past few years). It’s pretty evident that there are many changes and commotion in politics, world markets, and other societal influences that could infuse a little bit more stress in anybody that pays attention.

So how do we get over that and have better sleep so we can avoid possibly becoming obese, and to reduce the amount of stress in our lives? Well, studies also show that we are more at ease and less stressed the richer our relationships are. You know how the question is posed – “How does he/she sleep at night?” It may seem kind of funny to you, but there may be some truth to that, and the better cohesion we have with our loved ones, our neighbors, and society in general, the less stress we have. The less stress we have… the better we sleep? But as Johns Hopkins article seems to insinuate, which came first, the chicken or the egg (Sleep deprivation may be the consequence, rather than the cause, of obesity.)? Who really knows, but it sure can’t hurt to enrichen our lives by reaching out, serving other people, loving more, and as a result expecting to be able to sleep better and maybe lose a little weight in the process ;)

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