So what really is the relationship between sleep deprivation and obesity? Obesity has become worse over the past few years, but there are a number of factors which are contributing to obesity which includes excess calories in our diets, decreased physical activity and cultural influences. Another big yet overlooked factor is the fact that we have been sleeping less which has led some researchers to look into the relationship between obesity and lack of sleep.
The most common problem now plaguing almost every third person is insomnia which in definition means difficulty sleeping or difficult staying sleeping. Some people just wake up very early and are not able to get back to sleep. According to data from the National Sleep Foundation in America, the annual survey shows that almost half of all adults experience the symptoms of insomnia. This has some people pointing out that it has contributed to obesity in our society.
So how does sleep deprivation affect obesity levels? The way this works is that a lack of sleep has a direct affect on appetite and also an affect on our choice of food, tiredness drives our desire to go for foods higher in sugar and fat as compared to when we are alert. Researchers have been able to show a direct relationship between the total amount of sleep and obesity ie people sleeping for shorter periods of time have a higher risk of being obese. This is caused by an imbalance of leptin and ghrelin.
If you look at the fact that we are sleeping around a quarter less than our ancestors did with the average time decreasing from 9 to under seven hours in the past ten years. Back in 2001 researchers discovered that sleeping under six hours every night and keeping awake past twelve increases the likelihood of being obese. Later in 2001 a study of around 1.1 million found that there is an increase in BMI when sleep fell below 7 to 8 hours.
It is now clear that all three factors ie appetite, wakefulness and the season has a direct effect on people. But we are also quite far away from fully understanding the interaction between these factors. But from research we know that the most important components for a person's wellbeing are regular sleep, food and exercise. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people report unresolved sleep issues primarily because many doctors are not trained in sleep treatment and disorders. You then couple this with the fact that we do not get good quality sleep and you see a public health issue such as obesity on the rise with threats both production and health.
Both sleep masks and eye masks help to promote deeper and better sleep either when at home or while traveling as it provides the blackout you need to sleep. An eye mask helps to send the correct signals to the brain telling it to go to sleep which is often always deep sleep which is imperative for good health.