Not sleeping well increases the levels of cortisol “the stress hormone” and makes us more prone to overeating all kinds of caloric foods, which cause weight gain and alter glucose.
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
It is a fact that the pandemic brought all kinds of effects on people’s health and among the main ones are the Sleep disorders, which increased considerably this last year. There are many reasons why sleep quality is affected, including high levels of stress, poor diet, and poor lifestyle habits. The truth is that the consequences of a bad rest have an impact on absolutely all health, affect brain and cognitive functioning, physical and emotional health and mood. In addition, it is very likely that we are not so clear about it, but insufficient or poor quality sleep is also bad news for waist measurements and therefore body weight, blood sugar levels and sexual desire.
The first thing we have to say is that stress and fatigue are two determining factors that trigger a fierce craving for fatty, sugary, and high-calorie foods, as with the wide range of sweets and sweet foods such as chocolate, ice cream and cookies. They are also aspects that alter the balance of hormones in the body, making it much more likely that blood sugar levels stay high and that excess fat accumulates especially in the abdominal area.
It is surprising to say that throughout the week new studies have been highlighted that confirm the dangers faced by millions of people around the world (with special emphasis on the United Kingdom) due to the weight gain derived from the pandemic confinement. The numbers don’t lie and they are certainly shocking, as Diabetes UK revealed that the number of people with diabetes has doubled in the last 15 years and in fact something very similar happens in the United States. As general data released by the National Health Service, it is known that the number of people with prediabetes, in whom blood sugar levels rise but are not yet in the range of diabetes, has also skyrocketed, a almost 14 million Worst? An estimated 1 in 3 people unknowingly has the first signs of fatty liver disease, caused by being overweight.
The truth is that these are warning signs that we simply cannot ignore, whether you have type 2 diabetes or you start to have high blood sugar levels, the message is clear: something has to be done about it. It is well known that people who have a family history of diabetes or hypertension are at greater risk of developing these types of chronic diseases, however when we gain weight gradually and sleep poorly, it is the worst combination to raise blood sugar levels. blood.
The importance of quality sleep and managing stress:
There is growing and overwhelming scientific evidence about how poor sleep is really bad for our health. Although it is associated with many conditions, the most worrisome today are weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
A recent study was based on analyzing the sleeping habits of people who they had developed insomnia, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. The first case had the participation of Dr. Mosley, victim of all the aforementioned conditions derived from the demanding nature of his profession, little sleep and the implications of raising 4 small children, after following the 5: 2 diet, he managed to lose 19 pounds ( equivalent to 8,618 kg) and reverse his diabetes diagnosis. However, he stated that he is constantly on the alert in case his weight starts to rise again. The good? You already have the criteria to take the necessary steps to control your stress levels and get the most restful sleep possible. He further stated that in the name of science, he has spent many nights in sleep labs with electrodes attached to his head and body.
In fact for one of his TV shows, participated in a sleep deprivation experiment with a group of volunteers. It wasn’t that bad, he stated: we just went to bed three hours later than normal for two nights. Nonetheless, all participants noted a dramatic increase in hunger. Also one of the other volunteers developed a desperate craving for custard cookies and ate a packet before breakfast, something he had never done before. It is worth mentioning that the tests showed a large increase in cortisol “the stress hormone”, and also several of the participants had blood sugar levels shot to the range of diabetes. Things returned to normal after a good night’s sleepBut it was shocking to see the impact of a few bad nights on the body.
Dr Eleanor Scott, Professor of Medicine at the University of Leeds who helped conduct the experiment, noted that people who sleep less than seven hours a night they are more likely to be overweight or obese and develop type 2 diabetes. He explained that lack of sleep disrupts appetite hormones, making you more likely to feel hungry and less likely to feel full. It is also the key mechanism to increase the desire for sweet foods, based on this it is striking to know that the simple fact of being awake when we are not meant to be: it causes the body to produce more cortisol and that directly influences blood sugar levels the next day.
Complementary to this there is another interesting reference, a large study carried out by researchers from King’s College London and in which it was found that people deprived of sleep consume, on average, 385 extra calories per day, which is equivalent to a large slice of cake. So this not only spikes blood sugar levels, hunger hormones kick in when we’re tired, and areas of the brain associated with reward also become more active. In other words, poor sleep motivates us to seek out unhealthy foods like chips, cookies, ice cream, and commercial chocolates.
It is also associated with a lower probability of consuming healthy foods, therefore by increasing the intake of processed and fast foods, it is likely that we store more body fat and around the abdomen (visceral fat), which is known to play a role in the increase of blood pressure and cholesterol. And that in turn leads to a increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Also as a last reference there is a major Swedish study of middle-aged women, which found that the differences in sleep quality and quantity among overweight people were striking. Women in the normal weight range slept 25 more minutes per night, got 20% more deep sleep that restores the brain and 22% more REM sleep that was emotionally calming than women who had waists greater than 33 inches.
The truth is that these studies come to give us much greater clarity about the importance of seek balance in all aspects that define good health. While much has been said about how essential it is to follow a comprehensive and healthy diet, and perform physical activity; it’s just as important to take rest hours seriously. Finally, sleeping well is not only a great pleasure, it is the way in which the body recovers and regenerates, therefore it is key in controlling stress, body weight and disease prevention.
It may interest you: