How to improve sleep to curb weight gain

What you need to know

If you struggle with sleep disturbance or insomnia. Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help!

Acupuncture for balancing sleep cycles

How to improve sleep to curb weight gain

Sleep & weight gain…wait, what?!

DID YOU KNOW that the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone CORTISOL, which consequently increases your appetite. And if that weren’t enough – a lack of sleep also thwarts your body’s natural ability to process sugar and carbohydrates – which of course is what you’re craving after a crappy night’s sleep! These are just 2 of the contributing factors to not being able to maintain a healthy weight.

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Weight Gain?

Are you stuck trying to figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to lose those extra pounds that just seemed to sneak up on you despite not changing your diet or exercise habits?

This is often referred to as Weight Loss Resistance – and it’s exactly how it sounds: weight that just won’t budge no matter what you do! This unfortunately is common in peri-menopausal and menopausal women.

Here’s one surprising reason why you might be gaining weight or experiencing weight loss resistance: lack of good quality, restorative sleep.

In fact, there are actually science-backed reasons why a lack of sleep can be a strong contributing factor to not being able to maintaining a healthy weight.

Best tips for restful sleep

Why Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

If you thought unsightly dark circles under the eyes were the worst outcome from cutting corners on sleep, you may want to think again.

Sleep is of the utmost importance to nearly every bodily system and losing out on it, even just a little, creates a vicious cycle in your body.

For example, where a healthy body weight may be of concern, the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of stress hormone (cortisol) will be, which tends to increase your appetite.

Then, once the appetite is increased, a lack of sleep also thwarts your body’s natural ability to process sugar and carbohydrates – which of course is what you’re craving after a crappy night’s sleep!

Additionally, when you’re overtired, the mitochondria (little cellular factories that turn food and oxygen into energy = metabolism centers) actually start to shut down. This causes glucose to stay in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar levels.

What does insulin have to do with it?

Insulin is a hormone whose job it is to signal the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream to be used for energy. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that skimping on sleep can cause fat cells to become less insulin-sensitive by up to 30% – meaning they lose their ability to use insulin properly.

Yet another reason you might pack on pounds when you’re lacking in sleep is because your body goes into survival mode – much like when we deprive our bodies of too little energy & calories. Therefore, survival mode = extra fat storage. (The body thinks it’s better to be fat than dead!)

And all of that isn’t even the worst of it!

Research says that just 30 minutes of lost sleep per day could make you more likely to gain.

It is like a viscous cycle that must be broken to help regulate sleep, to improve overall health and metabolism. But there is good news, we can help!

At Starting Point, we use an integrated approach to help our patients achieve optimal sleep, improved energy, and even help to regulate hormones (if that maybe one of the contributors to poor sleep), acupuncture is one of many tools we may use in your treatment plan. Read Dr. Heintze’s previous post on sleep hygiene here.

Acupuncture can improve sleep

How exactly can acupuncture help you may ask?

In a recent study looking at how acupuncture can help curb insomnia in peri-menopausal women showed just how acupuncture can help. In an 8-week study, following a specific acupuncture protocol, patients noted an improvement in sleep and sleep quality during and after the study. What this study pointed out was that patients noted short AND long-term improvement in sleep, some up to 3 months post treatment. In addition, there were no adverse side effects from the treatments and patients noted an improvement in anxiety as well.

Sleep could arguably be the most important thing a person can do if they’re ready to start a new health optimization plan – and the first step is to make sleep a priority.

Sleeping isn’t just a time to rest — you’re actually nourishing your body just as you are when you’re eating healthy foods. It may require some behavioral and mindset shifts on your part, but your body will thank you.

If you struggle with sleep disturbance or insomnia. Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can help!


Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She specializes in chronic and complex cases and commonly treats neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune, and infertility cases. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free  and Keep Calm and Zen Out available on Amazon.

Sources:

Uptodate.com

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7764880/ 

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/tes-l3m030515.php

http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1379773/impaired-insulin-signaling-human-adipocytes-after-experimental-sleep-restriction-randomized

https://experiencelife.com/article/functional-wellness-part-6-energy-mitochondria-and-toxicity/

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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