In our busy lives nowadays, going for jobs, doing late night shifts or if it’s not about working, then of course going for those joyful night outs with our friends, and following some trendy hashtags on social media like #NoSleepTonight & lastly being a late night party animal almost everyday, we all have been taking one thing for granted, and that is our beautiful sleep.
What if I told you that a lack of sleep could make you gain weight “unhealthily” or could be a reason behind your unsuccessful journey of fitness where you are working hard on your exercise and diet but still not losing weight? What if I told you lack of a Proper Sound Sleep could be the reason for many health disorders in time.
Well yes, that’s true.
How a lack of sleep can affect us?
1. Negative hormonal changes: Due to a lack of sleep our stress hormone called Cortisol gets released by our body in higher levels, which in turn makes us crave for unwanted and unhealthy foods full of sugar, bad fats, and refined carbs more despite adequate food intake.
Also, there is a hormone called leptin which is often known as the satiety hormone released by our fat cells, it tells us to stop eating when we are full. Ghrelin, another hormone called hunger hormone, tells us to eat. When we are sleep deprived, leptin is released less and ghrelin is released more. Thus, the combination of more cortisol & ghrelin leads to weight gain in a bad way. We don’t feel satisfied after meals and keep eating as the appetite is stimulated. 
2. Insulin Resistance: Due to sleep deprivation our body’s ability to use Insulin hormone, which maintains our blood sugar level, disrupts. Normally, whatever we eat, our body converts them into glucose which gets absorbed by our cells to be used as energy & insulin helps carry the units of glucose and transfer them into cells. Also, when insulin functions well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the bloodstream, preventing fat storage.
We become insulin resistant mostly by sleep deprivation, consuming unhealthy food which spikes our blood sugar level quickly & as a result, the level of insulin production and functioning is disturbed. Our body pumps out more insulin. Eventually, this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. Due to more fat in our body, insulin isn’t able to carry all the units of glucose into cells and glucose enters in our bloodstream & that’s exactly how diabetes occurs too.
3. BMR is affected: Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. Sleep deprivation makes BMR slower which leads to weight gain.
4. Lack of Sleep causes Muscle loss: Sleep Deprivation undoes the effect of gym and diet. In order to lose fat, we need to increase muscle. Muscle is the enemy of fat. But less sleep is the enemy of muscle. When we sleep less, our body isn’t able to synthesize much protein (protein synthesis increases muscle). Also, lack of sleep makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise by slowing down the production of growth hormone—your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery.
5. Reduced Immunity & Energy levels: Of course a lack of sleep makes us feel lethargic and out of energy. It can affect our physical and mental performance.
Our immune system released proteins called cytokines which are useful for fighting against infections and several diseases. Due to disturbed sleep cycle, these are reduced and we get prone to illness.
People who have a sedentary lifestyle where they do not move their body much, do not focus on their physical activities, consume unhealthy diet, they generally become overweight which can also create many problems in our sleeping hours such as sleep apnea a sleeping disorder, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping. Others are snoring, less peaceful sleep which forms depression & stress.
How to Sleep well?
1. Reduce the intake of caffeine: If you wish, it is advised to take caffeine at least 6-7 hours before bed at night as it can reduce our sleeping hours and tends to keep us awake for a longer time. It vanishes away our sleepiness and disturbs our sleep cycle. Limit the consumption of tea, coffee etc during late hours or when you are intending to Sleep.
2. Say no to Alcohol: Of course, not only by saying no to alcohol we improve our sleep cycle, but also we take care of our entire health. Alcohol has the ability to cause multidimensional effects. Well, due to alcohol, we are able to sleep very quickly, but that is a low quality sleep. In addition, our Sleep Quality Dampens and become less and less healthy as months or years Pass. This leads to an inability to focus on tasks needing attention and easy irritability over time. Alcohol also blocks our muscles of our throat while sleeping as well, which can cause snoring & sleep apnea. It also leads to some extra bathroom trips as well. Not to mention, alcohol disturbs the functioning of our body in many ways. It is also one ofthe major causes of obesity, as there is no disciplined & healthy lifestyle of chronic alcoholics as well. Be a teetotaler !
3. Focus on healthy diet, drink water, do yoga & EXCERSICE: A good & healthy diet with a good intake of water will make you sleep peacefully as it will reduce your unwanted cravings at night, aid weight loss, good absorption & transportation of nutrients in several parts of the body. A healthy diet does many countless miracles. Focus on your water intake during the daytime rather than before bed to avoid bathroom trips.
Doing yoga will make you do some meditation which can turn out to be very helpful in order to relieve our stress, cure breathing problems & help us sleep peacefully. A good workout routine along with that including cardio & strength training will also enhance our stamina, relieve stress, boost our confidence level, improve our respiration, awaken our muscles, motivate us to have a well disciplined lifestyle and promote sleep on time at night and play many more functions which can make us have a great sleep at night. Don’t workout just before bed as it might affect your sleep cycle. Prefer doing it in early morning or evening. If you can’t manage with the suggested time, well anytime is the good time then. Something is better than nothing!
4. Eat tryptophan rich foods : Tryptophan, an amino acid that is nutritionally important and occurs in small amounts in proteins. It is an essential amino acid, meaning that humans and certain other animals cannot synthesize it and must obtain it from their diets. Tryptophan promotes good sleep at night. Some of these sleep-inducing foods having tryptophan are : dark chocolate, oats, dried dates, warm milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, spirulina, and peanuts.
5. Avoiding Overuse of Mobile devices: These Electronic gadgets and touchscreen devices artificial short wavelength light which in studies have shown to have an effect of reduced sleep quality if overused especially at night hours or before sleep. Besides the continuous need for Dopamine and Rewards and notifications, they induce in the brain do not let the user feel relaxed and go to sleep till they are totally exhausted or tired. In addition, studies have shown that sleeping with Laptops, mobile phones or other electronic items left on the bed or near your head while Sleeping reduces the Depth and Quality of Sleep you get over time.
Hence it is advisable to either not use them at late hours or at least, if you use them, Place them at a distant place away from your bed where you sleep at night while you are sleeping. Do not keep your Electronic gadgets near your head or on the bed while Sleeping. Better Place them on charging in a different room or a table away from the bed to charge at night. This shall help you have a more refreshing sleep at night.
6. Keep those lights Off: The natural rhythm and Internal Circadian clock of our body based on the Pineal gland works best with the natural day and night cycles. Today’s fast-paced life and night shifts sometimes don’t allow us to Sleep at night (although a preferred practice), but making sure there is no excess light in the room while you sleep further helps improving sleep quality. Close windows, Use Curtains or other means to avoid sleeping in excess light. Best is to use the night time to have a Soothing comforting and relaxing Sleep.
7. Just let the mind go free and forget all worries, Do not Overtry: During the course of human evolution,Sleep was meant to be a time when you forget all your worries and give your body, mind, and Soul a comforting soothing and healing experience to revive them all for a fresh new start full of energy and vitality. Do not overthink or keep looking at the clock if you cannot sleep. It only gets worse. Relax and go with the flow. Forget everything, and relax. it will come when it will come or it won’t and balance out the next night. Just let your mind go free and release it of all worries and tensions. Think of positive thoughts, memories or imaginations, whatever makes you feel better. And you will never know when you slipped into that good night Sleep.
Remember that, even if you are sleeping for 7-8 hours at night (recommended sleeping hours) manage to have a peaceful sleep without any kind of stress, depression or overthinking. An overall healthy lifestyle is the key to getting some good sleep.
The quality of sleep is as important as it’s quantity! So eat, sleep, exercise & conquer repeat! Take care.
If none of these methods help, consulting and talking to a therapist or Sleep Expert can be helpful.
For more Info and Guidance on How have a Sound Sleep, You can Consult one of our Physicians as well.
Just Contact us at ‘ZinitheApp@gmail.com’ with Subject line ‘Article Consultation’.
***** Article Finished*****
Edited & Reviewed by:
Dr. Rohit Sharma
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 Effects of Leptin: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/89/11/5762/2844744
 Insulin Resistance: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance