Sleep is essential for our physical and emotional well-being. Individuals with chronic illness are more susceptible to disrupted sleep patterns.
This can be due to symptoms themselves, medication side effects, or a combination of both factors. Of course, everyone experiences an occasional night of disrupted sleep. Persistent insomnia, however, needs to be taken seriously.
Insomnia not only affects our energy level. It can contribute to unintended weight gain. Insomnia affects the hormones that regulate appetite. Persistent insomnia also makes it more likely that we’ll consume the majority of our calories at night.
Chronic insomnia is very stressful for our bodies; it increases the levels of cortisol, a key hormone involved in reacting to stress. High sustained cortisol levels increase our appetite, further contributing to weight gain. They also promote abdominal weight gain, which is the form of weight gain associated with the greatest health risks.
Persistent lack of sleep increases levels of the hormone gherlin, which regulates hunger. Ongoing insomnia also decreases levels of leptin, a hormone which governs satiety. As a result, we feel more hungry when we are chronically sleep deprived.
If you are struggling with weight gain, examine your sleep patterns. Insomnia may be contributing to your weight gain.