Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain

 14 Jun 2017 - 1:30

Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain

The Peninsula

Sleep deprivation is common during Ramadan, making fasting more difficult. It is hence important to get enough sleep every day, cautions Dr Abdulaziz Al Hashemi, Consultant of Pulmonary Diseases and Sleep Disorders at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

Sleep is a normal physiological need of the body, like eating and breathing, and is required to maintain well-being and psychophysiological functions. Poor sleep can adversely impact daytime performance. Ramadan, which involves month-long daily fasting during daylight hours, is often accompanied by a disruption of normal sleep patterns.

“Sleep deprivation increases the hormone ghrelin which stimulates the appetite and suppresses the hormone leptin which controls the appetite. When a fasting person is sleep deprived, the impact is compounded. Furthermore, eating behaviours are usually altered after sleep deprivation. Sleep-deprived humans show an increased appetite for high-carbohydrate, calorie-rich foods, and this can result in weight gain,” Dr Hashemi noted.

He also highlighted that overeating can cause indigestion, gastro-esophageal reflux and colon discomfort that could increase the risk of developing sleep disorders during Ramadan.

“It is important for fasting individuals to ensure they get the same amount of sleep as they usually get over a regular 24-hour period. People usually sleep during the night for seven to eight hours at a single stretch, but during Ramadan, this is not the case. It is advised to make up for lost night time sleep,” he explained.

Dr Al Hashemi said that when people change their sleeping and waking pattern, they suffer sleepiness, headaches, and mood swings. “Changes in the bedtime and wake-up schedule can increase the risk of developing a circadian rhythm disorder, such as delayed sleep phase disorder. Establishing and maintaining a regular sleep pattern during Ramadan is important for facilitating re-adjustment after the holy month,” says Dr Al Hashemi.

“People who have a history of irregular sleep patterns may suffer insomnia and chronic biological clock disorders after Ramadan, in addition to having difficulties adjusting back to their original sleep pattern."

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