Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain

weight loss doctor Bergen County NJ Dr. Betty Keller
Sleep-deprived eating

Want to lose weight?

Weight loss doctor in Bergen County NJ Dr. Betty Keller Explains How Sleep Impacts Weight Loss

Could your lack of sleep be causing you to gain those extra-unwanted pounds?

Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

There have been many studies confirming the association of sleep deprivation and obesity in both children and adults. When people don’t get enough sleep they tend to eat more and gain weight.

When You’re Tired, You Eat Differently

A recent study by The University of California Berkeley suggests one reason may be the effect lack of sleep has on your brain. The study found that after just one night of sleep deprivation the brain had a heightened response to junk food, which means you actually experience greater pleasure than you normally, would.

In addition the part of your brain — the frontal cortex — that is responsible for higher thinking and impulse control showed a decreased in activity. So not only do you get greater pleasure from eating junk food when you’re tired, you also have less ability to stop yourself from over-indulging.

Other studies have shown that a lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol increases your appetite, and also tells your body to hold onto fat.

There are many physiologic and psychological reasons that we gain weight when we are sleep deprived. The bottom line, sleep is essential. When you are well rested you make better choices have energy to exercise, feel more positive and think more clearly.

The good news is getting more sleep is a simple cost effective, side effect free way to look and feel better and maybe even drop those few unwanted pounds. Try and get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Find out about our Weight Loss treatments to help you feel great and lose weight.

To A Healthier You!
Dr. Betty Keller

Is it Bad to Eat Before Bed?

If you think eating before bed is a diet downfall, well, you might be right.

Some studies indicate we may not burn calories as quickly at night. But one thing is certain, if you eat late at night, chances are you’re adding excess calories to your daily diet. And that can add up to extra pounds. Plus, if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, late night eating can cause blood sugar spikes.

You need to tailor your medication routine to your food intake and then stick with that plan.

Top 5 Sleep Strategies for Fibromyalgia

For people with fibromyalgia, sleep is more than ordinary downtime. Getting good quality sleep is an important strategy to reduce pain, fatigue, and emotional stress that are some of the biggest challenges of living with this condition.

Research suggests that the normal sleep pattern is interrupted for people with fibromyalgia. Studies show bursts of “awake” brain activity, that constantly interrupt the deepest, most restorative sleep stages. Some studies show that deep sleep is interrupted twice as often for people with fibromyalgia than for those with normal sleep patterns. It’s not clear whether brain chemistry or pain is the cause.

Even if the connection between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia isn’t completely understood, getting better sleep is important. Regardless of the cause, interrupted sleep leads to higher pain, extreme fatigue, and limited mental functioning.

When you get better sleep with fibromyalgia, pain symptoms decrease, mental focus and concentration improve, you feel less stress and more able to enjoy daily activities.

Strategies for Better Sleep

There are dozens of things to try to improve sleep quality. Every body is different. Here are the my top recommendations

1) Dedicate regular hours for sleep, and don’t try to go over or under them. It may seem counter-productive to get up on time if you think you can sleep some more. But the quality of your sleep will be better and less disturbed if you limit your time to the just the amount you need to help feel refreshed.
2) Keep a regular routine. Your body naturally adjusts to a sleep schedule if you have a consistent bedtime. Specifically, going to sleep is easier if you have a regular time you go to bed. It also important to wake up at the same time everyday. In fact it actually may be more important to wake up at the same time every morning, in order to have better quality sleep.
3) Help yourself fall asleep more easily and regularly by winding down your activity level well before bedtime. That means limiting computer use, limiting time in front of any screen, avoiding drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Wind down your physical activity.
4) Exercise regularly, but leave the last 3 hours before bedtime for quieting your body. Many people find that a warm bath with Epson salts very relaxing to aching muscles. Warm herbal tea and a light protein snack can also help your body feel relaxed and calm. Relaxation techniques that calm your mind and body can be very helpful in bringing on good quality sleep. Deep breathing and massage are two such techniques that help.
5) Limit daytime napping. It makes it harder for you to get the deep restful sleep you need most during your regular bedtime hours.

These are just a few of the many sleep strategies that can make a big difference in reducing your symptoms.

Here are some additional resources for you, with more tips and insights into better sleep:

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center

How Fibromyalgia Disturbs Normal Sleep

We know that every body needs sleep.

During sleep, your body restores both physical and mental functions. Sleep takes your body through stages of rest, moving from higher to lower levels of brain and muscle activity. This is the sleep cycle, which repeats a few times during the course of normal sleep.

Sleep specialists refer to the 5 stages in normal sleep, normally described by number. Briefly they are:

  1. Transition; you have just fallen asleep but can easily be awakened and become alert
  2. Light sleep where brain activity, heart rate and breathing slow in preparation for deep sleep
  3. The start of deep sleep, also called slow wave sleep, because the level of brain activity begins to produce slower delta-waves when measured
  4. Deep sleep when the brain activity shows only slow waves, and the body does most of its regeneration; if awakened at this phase, a person is groggy and unfocused
  5. Dream stage, or active stage of sleep. This includes rapid-eye-movement or REM sleep. Brain, breathing and muscle activity increase, sometimes almost as much as when you are awake.

During stages 3 and 4, the body does fine repairs to bones muscles and tissues. Hormones to stimulate cell growth increase. During REM sleep, brain areas that handle memory and emotions are more active.

What does sleep do for you?

Good sleep helps you feel refreshed and re-energized physically. You feel alert when awake, and your memory stays in reasonably good working order.

More work is being done now to study the connection between fibromyalgia and sleep. Research shows that fibromyalgia disturbs the stages of deepest sleep. One study at the National Institutes of Health found that when deep sleep is interrupted, otherwise healthy women had lower tolerance to pain, and increased discomfort and fatigue.

With fibromyalgia, these symptoms are linked with a lack of normal sleep:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling a lack of energy
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression

The connection between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia needs more study. Researchers are working to better understand the causes of sleep problems. Does the pain of fibromyalgia disrupt the sleep cycle, or does altered body chemistry cause the interrupted sleep cycle seen in people with fibromyalgia?

Better sleep means much better pain relief, energy and lower emotional stress for people with fibromyalgia. Because sleep is so important to coping with fibromyalgia, it’s important to know that getting good sleep may have to be a major focus for you in taking good care of yourself.

Fibromyalgia definitely makes it much harder for you to get the sleep you need – but once you understand sleep’s role in reducing your symptoms, you can plan some good sleep strategies to make the most of your ability to sleep.

More sleep stratgies are coming soon. Meanwhile you can check out these more detailed suggestions:

Improve Sleep Quality with Fibromyalgia
What is the Connection Between Sleep Problems and Pain

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center

Awake with Pain? How to Sleep Better With Fibromyalgia

Do you find it impossible to get a good night’s sleep with fibromyalgia? Do you feel like the lack of sleep is making your pain worse?

If being tired seems to worsen your symptoms, you are not alone.   Doctors have found lack of sleep does make your body more sensitive to pain.  You may find the pain keeps you awake, so you rest poorly. Being tired makes your fibromyalgia symptoms flare up, so you still can’t sleep.  You may feel caught in an endless cycle.  But there are ways to cope that can help you get more sleep.

I’m going to share quite a few tips with you.  This is because there is no single best way to manage this condition.  You may have to try a mix of different methods to get the best results for you.

What I can share with you are the answers found by many people with fibromyalgia who have found specific steps to control their symptoms.

  1. Create a regular routine – Get your body used to a pattern of sleeping and waking.  Set a time to go to bed and a time to rise.  That may mean planning your day’s activities to help you wind down in time.  Find the things that tend to keep you up late (sugary foods, computer work) – and plan them or replace them with other activities so they have less impact on your sleep.
  2. Listen to your body – you may find certain activities are more soothing than others to do before you go to bed.  Finding a quiet, calming activity for the 20-30 minutes before trying to sleep can help you get much needed rest.
    1. A warm bath, soaking in Epsom salts, lavender oil, chamomile oil or juniper oil can soothe sore muscles enough to let  you rest.
    2. Meditation, yoga or prayer can help you clear your mind and also relax muscles
  3. Avoid naps – they disrupt the sleep pattern that allow you to rest more fully.
  4. Try natural fiber sleepwear and sheets.  These can allow your skin to breathe better, and prevent big swings in temperature while you sleep. Temperature swings have been linked to pain flare-ups for people with fibromyalgia.
  5. Try a few good sleeping positions – Doctors recommend sleeping on your side to avoid putting stress on your tender spots. If you sleep on your back. try placing a pillow under tender spots such as the small of your back, or behind your knees. If you sleep on your stomach, a pillow under your stomach helps reduce the arch in your back and keep you more comfortable.

Medications can also help control pain so you can rest.  More information on medicine for fibromyalgia is coming in other tips.

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.