The Link Between Weight and Sleep

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 24, 2012 · 0 comments

Humans are programmed through evolution to respond to day and night cycles. We eat and are active during daylight and we rest and sleep in darkness. There is a molecular basis for these rythms and a group of genes called the circadian clock regulates our 24-hour, day/night cycles.

Obese individuals often eat at irregular times and may eat late at night. They frequently suffer more sleep apnea, which distrubs the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Researchers at the Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta showed that the master clock gene does not cycle correctly between day and night when a person is overweight, disrupting the natural circadian rhythms.

These natural cycles not only help regulate eating and sleeping but they also regulate the the heart and blood vessels that move blood through the body. Disrupting a person’s internal clock not only upsets eating and sleeping patterns but it could increase the risk for heart disease.

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