Original article from Integrative Dental Arts:

Have you been doing everything “by the book,” trying to lose weight but to no avail?

The common weight loss regimen includes eating a balanced diet that is rich in lean proteins and vegetables, exercising at least three days a week for 30 minutes, and limiting your intake of unhealthy foods.

Maybe you eat all the right foods, and exercise regularly, yet you are still struggling to lose weight. If this sounds like you, it may be your sleep habits that are to blame.

Bottom line, sleep controls your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 35% of people suffer from sleep deprivation. Ironically, the percentage of people struggling with obesity is almost the same! It is not coincidental that these two figures are nearly identical.

If you are sleeping less than seven hours a night, which simply is not enough to maintain an optimal weight, you are negating all your hard work of dieting and exercising. Feeling exhausted, confused, or even grumpy? Your metabolism is likely suffering from what is known as metabolic grogginess, a term that was coined by researchers at the University of Chicago. Researchers determined that it only takes a few nights of sleep loss for the body to feel its effect.

Sleep deprivation changes how your fat cells function. In a normal sleeper, their fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids out of the blood stream but for those that are sleep deprived, their fat cells begin releasing insulin and store up the fatty acids and lipids.

Feeling hungry all of the time? It’s not just related to willpower. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that control hunger. A lack of sleep causes an imbalance between these hormones, which makes the body think it is hungry when it is not.

Not getting enough sleep has a similar effect on the brain as being drunk. Your mental clarity is not so clear anymore, which leads you to make poor decisions regarding your food choices. Also, sleep deprivation means you are more likely to consume larger portions of food.

By not sleeping enough hours each night, you are also sabotaging your gym time. In other words, your body is not functioning at full capacity, and not resting like it should, which means you are not producing enough growth hormone. Instead, stress hormone cortisol increases. If you are already running on a sleep deficit, your workouts will be even harder.

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that stated sleep deprived women were a third more likely to gain 33 pounds within 16 years, than those who received seven or more hours of sleep per night.

How do you know if you are sleeping well? After all, your sleep troubles may not even steam from the time you are in bed, but the quality of sleep that you receive. If you snore regularly, find that you are fatigued during the day, and are struggling to lose weight, you may suffer from sleep apnea, and the dentist can help.

At Integrative Dental Arts, we take a holistic approach to treating patients. Want to learn more? Contact the Integrative Dental Arts office by calling (818) 532-1166.

Integrative Dental Arts serves patients in the Agoura Hills and Westlake Village communities of southern California.