Several studies show a connection between sleep and weight gain.
Professor Claude Marcus, one of Sweden's leading experts in obesity, explains that troubled sleep or too little sleep increases hunger, which can mean that you gain weight more easily.
A person is considered overweight when their BMI is over 25. In this case, the body has so much excess fat that it is harmful to your health. If somebody's BMI is over 30, then they are obese, and the body has so much excess fat that it can be regarded as an illness.
“Generally speaking, being overweight or obese leads to increased risks for many illnesses. High blood pressure, increased blood lipids (blood fats), type two diabetes and joint problems are among the illnesses which tend to arise when somebody is overweight and obese. Many of the illnesses that you can get because of obesity occur gradually and often without symptoms. It is therefore important to monitor blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar at least once a year if you suffer from obesity”, says professor Claude Marcus.
If you get too little sleep, your energy consumption is reduced, and your body stockpiles its fuel. All this can lead to an increase in weight. Feelings of hunger also increase, making it easier to gain weight. “At the same time, being overweight increases the risk of sleep problems as it may lead to troubled sleep”, says professor Marcus. Snoring also increases if you suffer from obesity and being overweight. This does not necessarily mean that losing weight is a guarantee that you will stop snoring – but there's a good chance.
A connection between cardiovascular diseases and pauses in breathing while sleeping (sleep apnea) has been observed in studies of obese people.
– Obesity leads to a highly increased risk for sleep apnea, and the extent to which the risk increases grows along with the extent of obesity. “It is a very serious condition, and it is important that you seek medical help for it”, says Claude Marcus.
Sleep problems also increase the risks of the same illnesses that obesity leads to, such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Sleep problems risk, therefore, worsening these illnesses.
If you use a weighted duvet, you get better sleep and can wake up well-rested in the morning. That way, you can avoid daytime tiredness, which in turn increases the possibility that you will succeed in losing weight.
Text: Poul Heien
CURA of Sweden
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