Too often, when we make wellness a priority, we focus on one thing. Sometimes it is weight loss, other times it is managing pain. Maybe we focus on nutrition for awhile, and then stress-relief. We, as humans, in an effort to better ourselves, forget that everything is interconnected, and we need to strive for wellness as a whole. A recent study emphasizes how lack of sleep might cause us to eat more.
Researchers at the University of Chicago recruited 14 people to spend several nights in their sleep research facility. Half of the group was allowed to sleep for 8.5 hours, while the other half was woken up after 4.5 hours. Both groups were offered a meal at 3pm, where they were allowed to eat whatever they wanted, and both groups consumed about 2,000 calories at that sitting. But the group who slept less went on to eat another 1,000 calories later in the evening, and most of it was poor food choices, high in fat, sodium, and sugar.
Researchers looked at a brain chemical called endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG for short). This is produced in the brain and part of its job is to control appetite. Typically, 2-AG is at its lowest during the night, and then slowly rises during the day until it peaks in mid-afternoon. In the sleep-deprived group, the levels continued to rise into the evening, which may explain their behavior of continued eating, even though their caloric needs were fulfilled.
This study is a great example of how we need to look at the body as a whole. In this instance, people trying to eat less and lose weight may be sabotaging themselves if they are not making adequate sleep a top priority.
At Lake Pointe Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we take the time to get to know you and recommend a wellness plan that includes all aspects of health. Through chiropractic care, massage therapy, nutrition counseling, functional medicine, acupuncture, and other methods, we will come up with an individualized plan to put you on the path to whole-body wellness. For more information or a free consultation, contact us by calling (770) 974-5215.