Poor Sleep Quality Promotes Obesity

Poor Sleep

The diagnosis of nocturnal bingeing exists. Little sleep causes a hormonal imbalance and creates a permanent feeling of hunger.

Why is it said that poor sleep that becomes chronic is related to obesity? It all has to do with the balance between two hormones, leptin, and ghrelin, which occurs when the body is at rest.

During normal sleep, leptin increases and ghrelin decreases, as explained on the Intramed medical community portal. Leptin suppresses appetite, while ghrelin stimulates it, so this cycle prevents us from being hungry during sleep.

However, when sleep becomes chronically insufficient, leptin levels drop and ghrelin levels rise, creating a famished state in the brain, no matter how well you nourish yourself during the day. There is no feeling of fullness, even after eating.

This leads to cravings for fast-digestible, high-calorie, carbohydrate-rich foods, known as a late-night binge.

Stress that raises cortisol levels and deprives us of sleep is also capable of depressing the immune system and causing the body to store more fat where there are more cortisol receptors (the abdomen and viscera).

If this happens once a week for at least three months, the doctor may detect binge eating disorder (APD), an underdiagnosed and under-treated eating disorder.

APD is characterized by episodes of overeating and rapidly, even without hunger, alone, with the feeling of loss of control. The person only stops when they feel physical discomfort, guilt, and disgust. Unlike anorexia and bulimia, there is no induction of vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise as attempts at compensation.

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) that covered fourteen countries, the average prevalence of APD is 1.9%. It is greater in women than in men, but the difference is not as great as in bulimia and anorexia.

The most frequent age of onset of the disease is between 23 and 25 years. If it occurs in adolescence, it is associated with an increased risk of depression, obesity, and drug use. Up to 42.4% of patients with APD have obesity.