The Connection Between Sleep Deprivation And Obesity

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
July 27, 2022
|
8
min read

Contrary to popular belief, poor nutrition and a lack of exercise aren’t the only factors that lead to obesity. Sleep issues can also influence how susceptible you are to weight gain.

While getting adequate sleep might feel like a luxury to hardworking people, indulging in bad sleep habits can be more damaging than you’d anticipate. If you suffer from poor-quality sleep and are prone to gaining weight quickly, this guide will tell you what you need to know to stay healthy. 

How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Weight?

Sleep debt promotes leptin and ghrelin hormone production, which causes people to overeat and gain weight. Because these hormones are responsible for regulating appetite, overproduction can increase feelings of hunger.

In addition, poor sleep can significantly lower your metabolism and even cause a tendency to indulge in high-calorie foods. When you consume more calories at night, you become more susceptible to weight gain.

How Obesity In Children Affects Sleep

Naturally, school-aged children require more sleep than adults. Because sleep duration can significantly impact a child’s developmental stage, a lack of sleep can put them at greater risk of obesity. Simultaneously, obese children are also more prone to weight gain to begin with – they often have poor diet quality and are less inclined to get exercise.

How Does Being Overweight Affect Sleep?

Many people tend to overlook the negative health impact that lack of sleep can have on the body. If you have poor sleep quality, you might be more at risk of the following health problems.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Sleep disorders like OSA cause the airways to partially or fully collapse, which can affect breathing. Compared to sleepers of average weight, obese sleepers are more likely to develop OSA.
  • Depression: Insomnia and depression are typically correlated, with instances of insomnia in a clinically diagnosed person occurring 75% of the time.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a condition that causes stomach contents to leak into the esophagus, resulting in issues like heartburn. Because symptoms typically worsen when lying down, poor sleep can directly impact the condition.
  • Asthma: Asthma occurs when the airways become inflamed, causing difficulty breathing. Because asthma usually occurs at night, it can cause poor sleep or difficulty staying asleep.
  • Osteoarthritis: When cartilage breaks down, it causes a joint disorder called osteoarthritis. Putting additional strain on the body can exacerbate the condition and cause insufficient sleep.

What Sleep Concerns Are Common In People Who Are Overweight?

Sleep disorders and obesity can have a cyclical relationship. If you are obese, you might have a higher chance of developing any of the following sleep issues:

  • Restless legs syndrome: This occurs when you develop the urge to move your legs while lying down.
  • Heart disease: Because obesity is often linked to OSA, it also increases your chances of developing heart disease.

How Can You Get Better Sleep When Overweight?

When you suffer from poor sleep due to obesity, the solutions are fairly straightforward but not always easy. However, introducing these components of sleep hygiene into your routine can help improve sleep quality.

  • Physical activity: Getting enough exercise can do wonders for improving poor sleep. Energy expenditure and sun exposure allow your body to absorb more melatonin, which promotes a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Exercise can also reduce OSA symptoms, making it easier to breathe while asleep.
  • Ideal mattress: Some mattresses are specifically designed to align the spine and balance pressure points in your sleep. The Purple Hybrid Mattress is ideal for improving your quality of sleep, as it comprises responsive support coils and cushioning foam that conforms to the body.
  • Healthy diet: As the saying goes, you are what you eat – eating carb-loaded, fatty foods can cause imbalances in weight and sleep patterns. Consuming a balanced diet can improve your ability to fall asleep faster and get the optimal number of hours of sleep per day. Avoiding meals within 30 minutes to an hour within your bedtime can also prevent inadequate sleep, as you won’t feel bloated and have more time to digest your meal.

The Bottom Line

While inadequate sleep can be challenging to correct, seeing a sleep specialist or developing healthier habits can reduce your risk of disturbed sleep and the likelihood of obesity.

For an easy way to fix your sleep issues, shop with Purple. Our ergonomically designed mattresses promote adequate sleep and can help address sleep concerns. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Deprivation And Obesity

Does sleep deprivation cause weight loss?

Generally, a 150-pound person can burn roughly 440 calories over seven hours of sleep per night. 

Inadequate sleep isn’t a healthy avenue for weight loss. When you incur too much sleep debt, it reduces leptin hormones, causing your appetite to decrease. Not getting sufficient sleep can also cause your metabolism to slow down and increase the likelihood of obesity. 

Is sleep deprivation associated with depression?

Depression can exacerbate the effects of sleep deprivation. Shorter sleep duration can also contribute to symptoms like irritability, tension, and fatigue.