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Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep and weight loss are intrinsically connected, with a scientifically-proven link between the two. A person’s likelihood of successfully losing weight significantly increases with better-quality sleep – and is diminished when sleep quality is poor.

According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health and the NZ Health Survey 2017-2018:

  • 32% of NZ adults were obese (BMI over 30). This was an increase from 27% in 2006/7.
  • 65% of Pacific Islander adults were obese.
  • 47% of Maori adults were obese
  • 12% of children overall were obese with, higher rates for children who were Maori or Pacific Islander.

According to the OECD, NZ is now the third-most overweight county in the world, with obesity rates exceeded by only the USA and Mexico. This is despite the fact that the rate of obesity is slowing overall worldwide.

The Impact of Obesity

Nobody actively chooses to be overweight. It compromises our overall health and wellbeing as well as our self-esteem.

There is a scientifically-proven link between being overweight and a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, and some cancers such as breast cancer. A person is more likely to suffer from issues like depression and sleep apnoea if they are overweight and are also more likely to have a stroke or heart attack.


Sleep and Weight Loss

Poor sleeping patterns and issues such as snoring and sleep apnoea can thwart even the best efforts to lose weight. Recommendations for optimal health and wellbeing suggest each adult gets between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Many adults are unable to achieve this.

Insufficient quality sleep can impact every aspect of our daily lives, from mood to memory, digestion to circulation. The International Journal of Obesity also reports a direct link between disrupted sleep and the ability to successfully lose weight. It may even result in weight gain.

How does this happen? Sleep directly affects metabolism and appetite. This means that maintaining ideal circadian rhythms and achieving a healthy weight rely on quality sleep.

Quality sleep assists in healthy weight maintenance, and if you don’t get restful sleep for enough hours per night, your general health and wellbeing will ultimately suffer.

Poor quality sleep:

  • Slows the metabolism
  • Encourages the body to store calories as fat
  • Limits our ability to make healthy eating choices
  • Leads to stress
  • Increases appetite

Be aware that deliberate oversleeping disrupts biorhythms and throws immunity, metabolism, digestion, and appetite control into disarray. Sleeping too much also shares a link with obesity, as well as anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, cognitive issues, and diseases such as heart disease and Type II diabetes.

How Sleep Affects Appetite – Hormones

Poor quality of sleep can trigger cravings for fat, sugar and starches, even at night. Consumption of calories in the evening makes weight gain even more likely as they are stored as fat rather than expended as energy.

An array of hormones regulate hunger and feeling full:

  • Ghrelin stimulates hunger
  • Leptin promotes satiation (feeling full)
  • Cortisol triggers cravings for fat and carbohydrates

Insufficient restful sleep triggers levels of ghrelin rise. This stimulates feelings of hunger. Concurrently, levels of leptin drop, and this impinges on the ability to recognise when you have had enough to eat.

Poor sleep also shares links with serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood and appetite; it is often low in people who experience anxiety or depression. High levels of cortisol trigger the release of serotonin and consuming fat, sugars and starches lead to a greater release of serotonin.

Poor quality sleep triggers overproduction both cortisol and insulin; these hormones in high concentration promote the storage of energy as fat, especially around the abdomen. Over time, the body becomes resistant to these hormones, triggering chronic issues like Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome – which are both a direct cause and a direct result of weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle.


How Does Sleep Help with Weight Loss?

  • It maintains healthy hormone levels
  • It maintains a healthy appetite
  • It limits the drive to overeat
  • It facilitates healthy metabolism
  • It reduces unhealthy cravings
  • It decreases total calorie intake
  • It maximises energy levels and the drive to exercise
  • It reduces the desire for daytime napping


Sleep Better with ApneaRX

Sleep and weight loss share a symbiotic relationship, and without good quality sleep most nights, losing weight is even more challenging. One thing we can help you with is to stop snoring so that you sleep better and have a healthier, more balanced lifestyle! Your weight loss efforts will also pay off more easily!

ApneaRX is a patented, scientifically-engineered oral device that has helped thousands of people worldwide get relief from snoring and related sleep issues like sleep apnoea that prevent great quality sleep due to disrupted sleep cycles. It gently realigns the lower jaw during sleep to help open the airways. It is adjustable and comfortable to wear and is suitable for use by adults of all ages.

Discover more about ApneaRX: call us today on 0800 111 325.