Sleep disorders Lack of sleep Overweight: fatigue is not worth it!


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Text comes from: Müde war gestern. Wie du deine Schlafstörung selbst behandelst und wieder Schlaf findest (2018) from Dr. Chris Winter, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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Lack of sleep not only makes you tired and unconcentrated, it also leads to weight gain and serious illnesses. What can we do against it?

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Dr. Chris Winter is a well-known sleep doctor and neurologist.

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Poor sleep leads to weight gain: Pickwick syndrome

Even if at first glance it seems to have little to do with each other, it makes a lot of sense to take up sleep and being overweight because the connection between the two was largely unknown until recently. If you look at the research work of the past decades, it becomes clear that obesity can lead to poor sleep, which is largely associated with changes in breathing.

This was called Pickwick syndrome after Charles Dickens' novel "The Pickwickier". This book features overweight Joe, who often falls asleep during the day, as is the case with many people with sleep apnea. Studies that linked weight gain to poor sleep were conducted over fifty years ago; however, studies that link poor sleep to weight gain are still relatively new.

8 facts about sleep and weight

In recent years, there have been many studies that have shown that poor sleep leads to weight gain. The course structure and protocols were very different, but here are some key points:

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  1. Numerous studies have shown that less than six hours of sleep and staying up late after midnight can promote obesity. In a 2015 study of the habits of over 1 million Chinese subjects, Jinwen Zhang, a public health scientist, found that people who slept less than seven hours a night were more likely to be overweight.
  2. Another study published in 2015 by the clinical psychologist Randall Jorgensen in the journal Sleep showed very clearly that the waist width increased with shorter sleep times. The scientific evidence that disturbed sleep leads to weight gain should be clearly proven. This study is great for quoting if you prefer to sleep in rather than join your friends in the gym.
  3. Schoolchildren who slept too little (less than nine hours a night) and / or slept irregularly were overweight, according to a study conducted in 2008 by researcher Eve Van Cauter, which revealed the effects of day / night rhythm (the circadian rhythm) had examined the endocrine system. When I see my older children staying up until the wee hours of the morning, I am often tempted to take such studies to their school and ask teachers if it is worth doing this ridiculous mountain of homework to do then follow fashion diets for life and squeeze into shapewear to hide the muffin tops.
  4. Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced in the gut. Ghrelin acts as a hunger trigger in the brain, but can also play a key role in the pleasure of eating. Ghrelin ensures that we crave processed foods that lure in supermarkets. The 2004 study by clinical researcher Shahrad Taheri showed that as the amount of sleep decreased, ghrelin production increased, increasing the likelihood of overeating and being overweight.
  5. Poor sleep quality can affect the levels of the chemical substance leptin in our body. Leptin, which is produced by our fat cells, leads to a feeling of satiety and curbs the appetite. When we sleep poorly or too little, leptin goes downspiegelwhich, according to a 2015 study by Fahed Hakim, causes us to eat more.
  6. The 2015 study by scientists Alyssa Lundahl and Timothy Nelson showed that our energy level is lower after a night with little sleep. One compensation mechanism is to eat more to boost energy.
  7. With poor sleep go less impulse control and a higher risk tolerance in behavior. According to a 2006 study by Harvard scientist William Killogre, these factors could result in us eating poorly during periods of disturbed sleep or insufficient sleep.
  8. A 2015 study that looked at 3300 teenagers and adults came to a very sobering conclusion about sleep and weight. Lauren Asarnow and her Berkeley group examined the effects of chronic sleep deprivation on body weight. They showed that the subjects' body mass index (BMI) score increased by 2,1 points for every hour of less sleep.

Heart, blood pressure, circulation: the long-term consequences of too little sleep

Too little sleep, too high weight: this can lead to further serious diseases. Let's think about the heart for a moment. Where is the heart In our chest. Who is his neighbor The lungs with their two lungs. Let's look at the picture above. You see a picture of the heart and lungs. Note that the heart lies exactly between the lungs and, like everything in the chest cavity, is nicely closed.

Your heart must be at this point because its main task is to pump the blood that is no longer oxygen (the blue blood: blood turns blue / black when it contains no more oxygen) into the lungs, where it is new Can absorb oxygen and turn bright red again. The chest acts like a bellows. It's a fine thing for the lungs. If we expand our chest, we create a negative pressure, a vacuum, like a bellows.

It is said that nature abhors a vacuum and that is true. The air outside the lungs hurries to fill the space, causing us to breathe in. If breathing is working properly, everything is fine. However, if a person has trouble breathing, it becomes problematic. Look at the diagram again and imagine a person struggling with breathing at night. In order not to suffocate, this person tries to suck air into the lungs with increasing strength (A). Because of the space the heart occupies in this chest cavity, any air sucked into the lungs causes blood to be drawn back into the heart (the B on the right).

In the end there is heart failure

If the heart has problems pumping blood out, the blood flowing back to the heart (the B at the bottom of the drawing) has no place to flow. It cannot flow into the heart because the blood is not pumped out from there efficiently enough. The blood cannot reverse and flow back either. So what is the natural solution the body finds? It turns out that there are two possible consequences and both are bad.

  • The first consequence is that fluids are forced out of the blood vessels into the body tissue, usually in the legs. This is the mechanism that hides behind swollen legs, an edema.
  • The second consequence is that the heart works harder to pump out the blood. What happens when a muscle like the heart strains more? It gets bigger. This is the beginning of heart failure. The long-term consequences for your heart are devastating for people who do not have their breathing disorders related to sleep treated. Heart failure is the inevitable result.

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