Educating patients with obesity about the link between poor sleep and weight gain is crucial. Review 5 key elements for achieving better sleep, here.
Approximately 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. On average, US adults clock 6 hours and 57 minutes of sleep each night, while about 20% average less than 6 hours of sleep each night. These sleep habits may be a results of today’s time-pressured world that tends to view sleep as an inconvenience or waste, which promotes long work hours, early mornings, and late nights. Those who work night shifts or connect with others in different time zones have further hindered sleep schedules.
For our patients to achieve optimum functional performance, they need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Inadequate sleep quality causes an imbalance of essential hormones, including cortisol, insulin, and leptin. An increase in cortisol causes a decrease in insulin sensitivity and lowers daytime leptin levels, causing an increase in hunger of 20%. Increased hunger over time may result in weight gain, overweight, and obesity. Therefore, obesity and poor sleep become a vicious cycle.
It is critical to initiate conversations with our patients about the impact sleep can have on overall health, as well as the correlation between poor sleep and weight gain and obesity. When they get better sleep, our patients are better equipped to reach their health goals.
Poor sleep can trigger both short-term and long-term health effects. Some of the short-term effects that can lead to long-term complications include:
Long-term complications that can develop might include:
Sleep is one of the strongest pillars of lifestyle medicine, alongside nutrition, physical activity, stress reduction, and strong relationships. It is our responsibility to emphasize this for patients and to develop personalized prescriptions for adequate and optimal sleep.
Explore advice for 5 critical elements of achieving better sleep:
Ensuring all patients—and especially those with overweight and obesity—are achieving their best sleep is key to promoting their overall health. Stay up-to-date on the latest obesity treatment news and research by exploring the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA’s) spectrum of resources and tools.
To learn more about obesity treatment or to become an OMA member, visit wwww.obesitymedicine.org/join.