If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll need to monitor your stress levels and get an adequate amount of sleep. Many experts have reported the connection between sleep loss and weight gain; now a new study shows a link between sleep and gut microbiota.
Stress, in General and in Sleep
It’s incredible how much stress affects our good health. As we read everyday, stress can deteriorate our bodies, minds, and happy spirits. And if you live it, you know it first-hand.
There’s no wonder that stress-reduction remedies abound such as: meditation, yoga, essential oils, therapeutic techniques, and even medications. It’s definitely not a positive state of being and kudos to anyone who can manage keeping high anxiety at bay.
The worst part is that stress may be keeping you from a solid night’s rest. Sleep disturbance and insomnia often partner with worry. This is where weight issues enter the picture…
Stress and Weight-Loss Resistance
The most common source of weight gain is from overeating. When you get stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a fight or flight chemical, and it encourages an adrenaline rush and vice-versa.
Your body, from the surge of hormones, thinks it’s used up energy and encourages you to replace them. That’s why you get hungry. Sometimes when we’re anxious, we’ll eat for comfort. But truly, your body will often think it needs calories and you’re just responding to its request. The problem is, you haven’t really burned any, so here’s where the extra weight comes in.
Even if you’re eating a proper diet and exercising, chances are your body won’t let go of any of the weight—it wants to hold onto the fat because it’s in survival mode.
Stress and Sleep Deprivation
The more sleep you miss out on, the higher the cortisol levels in your body. It’s kind of a vicious circle—stress makes you sleepless, yet lack of sleep will stress you out.
Besides your increase in appetite, testosterone production decreases from an increase in cortisol output. Testosterone builds muscle; when your muscle-mass depletes, your metabolism slows down. Slower metabolism equals more weight gain.
Swedish Study of Sleep and Gut
A small study conducted by Uppsala University researchers was recently published in the journal Molecular Metabolism. The scientists set out to discover if sleep deprivation affected levels of microbiota in the gut.
What they discovered was interesting; sleep loss did change the levels of microbiota in the gut, but not the diversity of it. More interestingly, was that they observed the change to look a lot like the microbiota discovered in studies of obese and Type-2 diabetes individuals.
Chronic sleep loss can be associated with changes in the microbiota. The researchers emphasized that gut microbiota is complex and affects so much of how our body functions—it can’t even be absolutely and definitively characterized. Bottom line, sleep loss negatively impacts our metabolism.
Keep working on managing stress so that it doesn’t invade your all your waking and sleeping hours. Here’s to good rest and a satisfied and satisfactory belly.
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