How to Avoid Weight Gain When Sleep Deprived
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The combination of dysregulated appetite hormones and lack of energy expenditure is a dangerous combination. Indeed, when the SD becomes chronic it leads to obesity. The meta-analysis published in journal Sleep assessed 45 relevant studies with 604,509 total participants, incredibly high number of subjects. Its authors reported that SD increases the chance of developing obesity by 55% in adults.
Luckily, there are strategies to moderate these two hormones. Firstly, both ghrelin and leptin are being released to the bloodstream according to the diurnal rhythm. It was reported in a study from European Journal of Endocrinology that ghrelin is pulsating 3 times a day. Remarkably, the secretion is not significantly affected by fasting. Subjects who fasted showed very similar peaks in ghrelin secretion as those who ate 3 meals a day.
Fasting can be beneficial as we prevent any unexpected spikes and falls in ghrelin and leptin levels. Further, it is helpful even on the minimal sleep to stick with your usual mealtimes, wake up as usual and keep your routine.
Fasting can also help to regulate higher levels of ghrelin. Ketone bodies produced during fasts can suppress ghrelin levels and help fight the food cravings induced by the hunger hormone.
The benefit of high protein breakfast is further supported by research published in the FASEB journal. After high protein breakfast containing around 40g of protein, levels of glucose and insulin stay more stable during the rest of the day. As glucose metabolism is also dysregulated after SD high protein breakfast seems to be a promising strategy to stabilize our metabolism and prevent big spikes and drops in either ghrelin, glycemia or insulin. SD is indeed a risk factor for developing a type 2 diabetes.
In a Danish study published in Psychoneuroendocrinolgy, it was reported that over 2 years each drop in daily mean cortisol levels by 1.0 nmol/L was associated with a 47% lower risk of diabetes. The study also examined the importance of the decrease in cortisol during the day by comparing morning and evening cortisol levels. Increase in the difference between morning and evening levels by 1 nmol/L was associated with a 36% lower risk of depression. This means that the ability to lower cortisol during the day is important for our mental health.
Lastly, it is important to Foods with high glycaemic index should be eliminated completely as they create insulin spikes. Insulin blocks leptin. Therefore, leptin can not signal the satiety even though big intake of energy is present. This is one of the reasons why sugary food is so dangerous for weight gain.