Obstructive sleep apnea causes people to experience blocked airways while they sleep. When this happens, they may also experience disrupted breathing, excessive snoring and poor-quality sleep. One of the interesting correlations between sleep deprivation and weight is that individuals who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea. Sleep apnea also affects other systems in the body that influence your appetite, which means that lack of sleep can actually lead to weight gain, making it a somewhat vicious cycle.
How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Appetite
The quality of our sleep influences our mental clarity, our physical energy, our moods and even our eating habits. Scientific studies show that poor sleep quality affects the production of the hormones that specifically regulate our appetites. The hormone ghrelin is known to stimulate appetite while the hormone leptin helps decrease appetite. When your body experiences a deficit in sleep, your ghrelin levels spike, while the leptin levels fall. This hormonal imbalance leaves you feeling tired and hungry. But hormone fluctuations are not the only factor when it comes to the correlation between lack of sleep and increased appetite. Here are a few additional findings:
· When you feel exhausted, you are more likely to crave sugary foods and caffeine
· Lack of sleep tends to boost cravings for high-carb foods and junk foods
· Studies show people who consistently experience poor-quality sleep tend to consume higher fat diets than those who regular achieve a restful 8-hours each night
· People who don’t get enough sleep eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories per day, compared with those get good quality sleep
Sleep and lipid levels
Poor quality sleep also is known to trigger a process in the body that raises the blood level of a lipid known as endocannabinoid. This lipid stimulates the brain in a manner similar to marijuana, making eating more enjoyable and potentially triggering food cravings. That may explain why people who are sleep deprived develop a hunger for specific types of foods, such as cookies, candy, and chips, all of which can lead to excess weight.
If you have struggled with an overactive appetite and resulting weight gain, and you believe your struggle may be associated with poor quality sleep, contact us. Our sleep evaluation process can determine whether sleep apnea is an underlying factor. Our experts can develop a customized treatment plan to help you attain a restful night’s sleep and a more balanced appetite. Contact Chesapeake Sleep Center.