Thursday, October 11, 2007

Insomnia and Weight Loss

Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping. Part of it is because I've needed to change my schedule at work. I'm waking up at 4:45 AM so that I can be at my desk by 5:00 or 5:15 AM, which means I'm going to bed a lot earlier. The change in schedule has been tough, but I don't think that's my only problem. When I go to bed, I'm tired, and I fall asleep quickly, but I don't seem to stay asleep. Last night, I woke up at midnight, 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM. I wasn't able to go back to sleep after that, though I was most definitely tired when the alarm went off.

From a recent article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

Poor sleep habits have become so closely associated with obesity that some scientists want obesity therapists to address sleep with the same intensity as diet and exercise, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

"There's an association between [inadequate] sleep and obesity," says Dr. Joseph Ojile, head of the Clayton Sleep Institute in St. Louis.

For decades, studies have found that overweight and obese people tend to have poor sleep habits. But the evidence was statistical. The physiological link, albeit in a relatively small study, came in December 2004 when a University of Chicago researcher in endocrinology, Eve van Cauter, found that poor sleep disrupted two hormones associated with appetite.


I for one have had problems sleeping for years, and if there is a link between sleep and weight gain, it doesn't surprise me that the years I've had the most trouble with sleep have been my heaviest. It's been so long since I've slept through an entire night without waking up for one reason or another, that I really can't honestly remember what it was like. I think I was last consistently able to do it when I was in high school or perhaps college. Since I started life in the adult working world, I've definitely been plagued with both a lack of both the total amount of sleep I get and a lack of uninterrupted sleep.

That's something to think about, isn't it?


john - from fat to fit said...

I question their conclusions. For me there is no question that I get fatter when I get less sleep but that's because there are then that many more hours in the day I can binge eat. I have no doubt people who sleep less weight more, but I think it's simply because they eat more because they are awake more.

Lady Shanny said...

Studies like that always make me wonder which came first. Did obesity cause the poor sleeping, or did the poor sleeping cause the obesity. No doubt about it, eating a large quantity of crap (or even moderately crappy) in the evening makes it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep at night because the body is still working overtime trying to process the food.

But like your previous commentor said, if you can't sleep to begin with and you're awake late at night, what's there to do but eat?

Makes me say "Hmmmm, I wonder?".

I've started really taking a good look after around 7pm, these days. And deciding if I need something to eat, if I'm thirsty or if I'm just tired and need to go to bed. This dieting thing can be so much effort that my body feels tired but my mind is still going. So I put off going to bed and then Mr. Munchy tries to come and keep me company.

I've been going to bed as soon as I need to for the body and then just laying there and playing day-dream games to work my mind into sleep mode. Seems to help.

Sorry! I hijacked your comments! I haven't written my own post yet today and evidentally, I have a lot of words to get out! :)