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Stress And Sleep - The Hidden Factors Behind Weight Gain!

Dr. Samir Anadkat 91% (656 ratings)
fellowship in diabetes, Professional Training in Mind Body Medicine, MS, MBBS
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Ahmedabad  •  22 years experience
Stress And Sleep -  The Hidden Factors Behind Weight Gain!

If you are sticking to your diet chart and slogging hard at the gym, yet the body refuses to shed any weight, it is time to rethink about the whole schedule. A microscopic vision on diet and exercise may not always be the right way to go in the endeavor of losing weight. There are factors such as sleep deprivation and high amount of stress that could over-write other factors and play a crucial hand in increasing weight. Here is a brief idea on tackling issues like these:

Sleep is a crucial factor: If you are finding it difficult to avoid the mid-afternoon slump just after lunch and there is a craving for sweet at the same time, do not curse yourself. It is very natural. The combination of carbs and sleep deprivation can be a deadly combination. A Harvard study conducted in the year 2004 found that men of the average age of 22 with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), suffering from sleep deprivation tend to face appetite and hunger issues. Another eye-opener from the same study was that the appetite of these lot is always directed to dense energy foods and high carbohydrate foods. The hunger often hits in the afternoon.

While this is a relatively new area of research, it is pretty evident that hormonal intervention is a key component of weight gain. Less than adequate sleep means a decrease in leptin and an increase in ghrelin hormone. The first hormone increases hunger and the second hormone increase appetite. Other studies conducted by the Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin found that people who had less than 7.7 hours of sleep have a higher body mass index compared to their counterparts. Simply put, if the body does not rest sufficiently, it draws its energy from food. This results in weight gain.

Stress is bad news: The late-night sleeping woes are largely blamed upon stress and rightly so. Stress can have a profound impact on the body. It changes the body hormone and invites several unwanted diseases. Cortisol is the hormone that helps an individual to manage stress by providing extra energy. As it turns out, people suffering a high amount of stress daily fails to utilize the high amount of energy that cortisol produces. The excess cortisol released through hormones such as the serotonin and insulin can slow down the metabolic function of the body, imbalance the blood sugar level, increases cravings and hunger. Extra cortisol can notch up the belly and the waist by a few inches resulting in cardiovascular diseases for many. New research has reported that people who can handle stress better, has a 60 percent lesser risk of cardiovascular diseases. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dietitian/Nutritionist.

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