A recent study revealed that people who work the night shift are more likely to burn fewer calories and thereby pack on unneeded pounds. In a similar vein, those with sleep problems often experience over-weight issues, even obesity.
People who don’t get the proper sleep, both in terms of length and quality, will no doubt fight fatigue in the daytime. And fighting fatigue often leads to bad eat and drink choices, such as sweets and chips, along with coffee and sodas. The extra calories soon add up.
“When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.
The connection between sleep and weight is a popular topic. There are even sleep diet books available that connect sleeping soundly with losing weight, but in truth, sleeping soundly mainly helps you to eat and drink soundly, which of course is a great benefit to weight and health.
Another recent study says that college students are so sleep deprived that they are turning to amphetamines on a regular basis. In fact, the study concludes that amphetamine use among college kids has become “normalized.” Amphetamines, of course, will also help in curbing appetites, so at least the “normalized” college students won’t have to fight weight gain as much as those not on amphetamines with sleep problems.
Research has also linked the recent rise of obesity in Americans to sleep issues. Write researchers Sanjay Patel and Frank Hu: “The recent obesity epidemic has been accompanied by a parallel growth in chronic sleep deprivation. Physiologic studies suggest sleep deprivation may influence weight through effects on appetite, physical activity, and/or thermoregulation.”
You can easily tell if your sleep has been jeopardized by how you feel in the daytime. If you’re constantly drowsy, unfocused and even stressed out, it’s a good indication that you’re sleep deprived.
Bottom line: Don’t let poor sleep rob you of successful, happy and fun daytimes. If you’re burning your candles at both ends (retiring late and arising early), then you’re your own worst enemy. If you’ve tried your best to adopt good sleep hygiene and still feel fatigued in the daytime, then by all means seek professional help immediately.