Fitness Facts: Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, illness

| June 18, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kristy Osborn
Health and Fitness Center

OsbornSCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people eat more snacks. 

Appetite and food intake tend to increase following sleep deprivation since sleep-loss influences the hormones that regulate appetite. 

Inadequate sleep interferes with metabolic mechanisms that regulate appetite, metabolic rate and physical activity levels. 

Inadequate sleep also affects hormones like increasing ghrelin and decreasing leptin, which causes people to eat more. 

In turn, when people don’t get enough regular sleep, they  generally eat more snacks. 

Adequate sleep is important for normal immune function as sleep deprivation can increase the risk of catching a cold or the flu.  

The immune system is the ultimate limiting factor in athletics, too. A cold or flu can stop progress in a training program as fast as a muscular or joint problem. 

If a person is healthy, well-fed and well-rested, however, the immune system will be able to handle the stress without negative results and weight gain.

Sometimes people try to compensate for their fatigue with large doses of caffeine. 

More caffeine is not better! 

A suggested dose of caffeine to enhance performance is a 12-ounce mug of coffee, one hour prior to exercise, or 1.5 milligrams of caffeine per pound of body weight. 

Higher doses of caffeine don’t offer any performance advantages and can create sleep problems that end up hurting performance and cause overeating. 

Also, excessive use of computers and television at night can interfere with sleep patterns and promote obesity.

People should see a doctor if they are feeling overly fatigued or having trouble sleeping since these symptoms are a disadvantage to a healthy weight. Otherwise, get more sleep to lose more weight.

(Editor’s Note: Information compiled from Self and Fitness RX magazines, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the British Nutrition Foundation and the Archives of Internal Medicine.)

Category: Community, Fitness, Standing Columns

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