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Summer Is Here,
And I Can't Shed Those Pounds

To lose weight seems to be on top priority for our New Year resolution, as well as during the summer vacations / beach seasons. However, nearly 90% of these resolutions meet with either little or no success. Some people even gain weight instead. Most people never know there may be a very simple reason why: They don't sleep well.

Studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association and The Lancet suggest that sleep deprivation may increase hunger and affect the body's metabolism which may make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.

Sleep loss appears to do two things:

Makes you feel hungry even if you are full. Sleep loss has been shown to affect the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates appetite. As a result, individuals who lose sleep may continue to feel hungry despite adequate food intake.

Increases fat storage. Sleep loss may interfere with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates, which increases your sugar levels and therefore increase in your insulin production, which ultimately makes your body to store body fat and development of insulin resistance, a critical step into the development of diabetes.

Why would an overweight person tend to have sleep problems? There appear to be several reasons why this may occur, according to WEBMD this is why;

Many people who are overweight have sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing starts and stops during sleep, consequently causing numerous awakenings. This may occur hundreds of times a night, without your even knowing it. So you can imagine how sleepy you could feel the next day.

Some who are overweight have low back pain, making lying comfortably in bed and getting a good night's sleep difficult.

People who are depressed or otherwise worried about their weight may have insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep.

Losing weight can improve sleep. An Australian study of more than 300 obese people showed they had significant sleep problems that were reduced after weight loss surgery:

14% reported habitual snoring, down from 82%

2% had sleep apnea, down from 33%3)

anytime sleepiness, down from 39%
2% reported poor sleep quality, down from 39%

It is also important to get a quality sleep (that is, getting the right amount of "deep sleep" this might just be the simple reason why you work out every day and eat healthier but the scale is not moving. I would encourage you to see your Doctor and get tested for Sleep Apnea. If the problem is Insomnia, you can also see your Doctor for that get into sleep hygiene for instance do not have any stimulant drink before bed like coffee, do not go to bed hungry. Take a warm bath with calming products that have ingredients such as Lavender, Chamomile, read a book. Avoid TV, electronics in your bedroom.

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Anayo Umerah, MD.