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How are sleep and weight linked together?

Traditional wisdom says that weight is determined by the diet consumed, nutrition intake, and activity level. It is lately we have understood that body weight is more than a mere function of behaviour. Various factors like genetics, community environment, stress, overall health, etc. play a vital role in one’s weight. 


One’s sleeping schedule also is considered a significant factor. How well or poorly you sleep affects weight gain and loss as weight loss is one of the risk factors for obesity. Sleep loss creates a hormonal imbalance in the body and affects hormones regulating hunger- ghrelin, and leptin. Due to lack of sleep, the production of these hormones is altered in a way and it ends up increasing the feelings of hunger. Lesser the sleep duration, the greater the tendency to select high-calorie foods. Foods consumed late at night have higher chances of weight gain. Not only this but sleep deprivation is also linked with a growth hormone deficiency, increased cortisol levels, fatigue that results in less or no physical activity; all leading to obesity. 


Here are a few concerns that are common in people that have issues with sleep- 


  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder wherein the airway fully or partially collapses that causes breathing issues at night and loud snoring. 


  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a chronic condition in which the contents of the stomach is leaked into the oesophagus that causes heartburn. This can often get worse lying down can may be associated with disturbed sleep


  • Osteoarthritis: This is a joint disorder that causes discomfort and pain due to worn-out cartilage. The additional strain put on the joints because of overweight affects sleep and may share a cyclical relationship with depression, pain, and disturbed sleep 


To avoid these issues, one can set up a sleep routine to regulate your sleep schedule. Practice “sleep hygiene” which means engaging in things that help improve your sleep. One can activate this by setting up a hygiene sleep routine like setting a predictable sleep schedule, deciding a bedtime routine, reading before sleep, journaling, etc. Exercise also contributes to better sleep, promoting weight loss as well. Diet and nutrition also play a vital role in regulating sleep patterns. Sleep loss makes healthy eating a challenging task to action. Thoughtful steps taken towards a balanced diet shall improve sleep quality. 


The Sustainable Weight Management programme by Dharana at Shilliim helps in evaluating and analyzing the root cause of weight accumulation with the use of various scientific yet non-invasive tests. The goal is to rectify improper lifestyle habits and correct digestive physiology. Overall, the approach of the whole program is an amalgamation of detailed guidance from the Nutrition and Physiology experts laced with the right kind of techniques.