Who would have guessed that insomnia could potentially make you obese? Let’s learn a little science to help us understand how specific hormone levels affect us during sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation raises ghrelin levels while lowering leptin levels in the blood.
Ghrelin is a 28-amino-acid peptide hormone that is secreted primarily by stomach cells with lesser amounts secreted by other cells (as of the pancreas) and acts to stimulate appetite and the secretion of growth hormone.
Leptin on the other side is a protein produced by fat cells that is a hormone acting mainly in the regulation of appetite and fat storage
Leptin levels rise during sleep, suppressing the desire to eat by reassuring the brain that energy stores are sufficient for the moment.
Ghrelin levels rise in response to acute sleep deprivation, whereas leptin levels fall in chronic sleep deprivation.
After a single night of poor sleep, ghrelin levels rise sharply although leptin concentrations stay virtually unchanged.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agouti-related peptide (AgRP) decrease neurons that secrete proopiomelanocortin or cocaine/amphetamine-controlled transcript neurons, according to the mechanism.
These send out a favourable signal that encourages people to eat. In simple terms, a single night of sleep deprivation disturbs natural energy homeostasis, increasing the risk of obesity.
Feeding and sleep patterns are thus influenced by both metabolic and neural factors. For example, during the afternoon, emotions of hunger come along with maximum alertness, but once night sets in, feelings of fullness and sleepiness emerge.
Chronic sleep deprivation has a variety of side effects, ranging from early morning fatigue to mental sluggishness and long-term fatigue. As a result, people are reluctant to do physical work or exercise.
A preference for the evening hours develops, which is more common in alleles that code for some circadian rhythms. Ghrelin stimulates non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, most likely via activating the growth hormone–releasing hormone (GHRH) receptor. This insight could aid in the development of sleep aids that are more in sync with human physiology.