What are the causes of obesity?
Obesity is a complex disease and there are many causes of obesity. Learn some of the reasons for obesity and how they affect how obesity is managed.
Getting too little sleep can alter the balance of our hormones. This can lead us to eat more food and gain weight. That’s why getting enough sleep can help you to resist tempting food.
Sleep has a major impact on our health and quality of life. We need
between seven and nine hours of good sleep every night in order for
our body and brain to rest and recover. Less than that and our ability
to concentrate may suffer, our immune system may weaken, and we end up
more food – and often more unhealthy food – than we need to.
One scientific study has shown that short-sleepers – people who sleep
less than seven hours per day – tend to eat 300 more calories per day
than people who get enough sleep. This is because they are drawn to
foods with higher levels of saturated
fat, like fast food, cheese and processed meats. Over a long
period of time this daily increase is enough to raise the risk of obesity.
Some of the differences between well-rested and sleep-deprived people can be seen in their bodies' hormone levels. Hormones act like messengers and help regulate many of our bodily functions, including our appetite. Scientists found that people who get less than five hours of sleep a night show increased levels of the hormone ghrelin and decreased levels of hormone leptin.
Ghrelin is known as ‘the hunger hormone’ and increases our appetite by telling our brain that it is time to eat. Leptin, on the other hand, makes us stop eating by telling our brain that we are full. Because of the change in the levels of these two hormones, we experience increased hunger and appetite. This can lead to weight gain.
The same hormonal change can occur if our body clock is disrupted.
This can happen if you don’t keep a regular sleeping
pattern, if you work night shifts, or if you are exposed to light
at night. Research has shown that these factors can also make people
more at risk of developing obesity.
habits can help us to make healthy choices and improve our ability
to resist tempting foods. Some simple steps are to have a regular time
for going to bed and waking up, and to get at least seven hours of
sleep every night. To find out more, take a look at our full list of
tips in the Support and Tools section.
Talk to your weight management provider about treatment options that could prevent the weight you lose from coming back.