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How Sleep Affects Weight Control


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by Karen Massey, INTEGRIS registered licensed dietitian

You may not have ever thought about how sleep affects your ability to lose or maintain weight. Karen Massey, a registered licensed dietitian with INTEGRIS, takes a look at how sleep affects your brain function and the impact sleep has on weight control.

My name is Karen Massey. I'm a registered licensed dietitian with INTEGRIS Health. And I am with I on Your Health today to talk about sleep.

You may be wondering why a dietitian is talking about sleep. As it turns out, we're starting to appreciate how important getting adequate rest is in weight control. When we look at how the brain kind of shuts down for seven, eight hours, we believe that during the night the brain adjusts, or sets, appetite control mechanisms, such as, maybe, the hormone leptin.

And the way I like to think about it is when I think about our IT department. When we go home, they get cranky if we don't turn our computers off so that when we reboot in the morning, all of the fixes and the reloads get rebooted, and we are ready to go with the adjustments made.

That's kind of how the human computer works. The brain is the human computer. And during the night, it adjusts things like appetite control so that when we reboot in the morning, we are in plane with our activity level, with how many calories we need.

Some skeptics will say that people who burn the candle at both ends, if they stay up too late, that the reason they struggle with weight may be just that they eat while they're up late. But this new research looking at the brain function and the role of appetite control really would make us question that getting seven or eight hours of decent sleep helps control body weight.

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