Sleep and Obesity: The Chicken or the Egg

Chicken or the Egg?

That sleep and obesity are woven together should not be a surprise for most people.  If nothing else, the resulting sleep apnea due to the extra weight in the neck area is an obvious and easy-to-see connection between the two.  The question is, is the lack of sleep causing (or is it one of the causes of the obesity) or is the obesity causing the sleep problems?  A wide variety of research has not given us a definitive answer yet, but science is certainly getting closer to solving the equation.

Many studies have shown that there is some sort of link between lack of sleep and obesity in children, citing the lack of sleep as some sort of causative agent.  It is not certain if there is an underlying cause for the sleep difficulties, however.  In adults, this sleep-causing-obesity connection is not as dramatic or obvious, and a wide variety of studies are searching for the answer. 

Some specialist theorize that there is more opportunity to exercise bad eating habits in the wee hours of the night when others sleep, simply more time to eat if a person sleeps several hours less than is healthy.  Other studies indicate there may be a hormonal contributor, meaning the hormones of the well-rested may indicate satiety after meals sooner than that of the sleepless. 

Obviously, people who are eating healthy, exercising, and sleeping 8 hours a night have an easier time regimenting their eating habits, which on its own makes it easier to control calorie intake.  It is simply that science has not quite discovered all of the connections between the insomnia and the obesity.  It will be interesting when there is understanding of how they are wound together.

If you've been diagnosed with a sleep disorder or have been advised to shed some weight, the knowledgeable staff at the Metabolic Research Center can help you get started on the right road to recovery. Our programs were created by doctors and dieticians with over two decades of research into how hormonal imbalances can have a negative impact on your health and wellness. Call or stop by today!  


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