Circadian Rhythm & Obesity

posted by on March 15th, 2014

Time and time again, literature has questioned the link between sleep habits and the increasing rates of obesity.

Over the last 3 decades we have seen a precipitous incline in the number of adults and children presenting to their Physicians/Health Professional, with concerns of obesity and its co-morbid factors: cardiovascular decline, fertility issues, risk for certain cancers, declining quality of life-and that is the short list.  This concern is not limited to the U.S, but is a worldwide epidemic.

Could our sleep habits be doing us in?  Are your sleep habits more important than your dietary habits?

A conventional approach to weight loss has consisted of caloric restriction and recommending increase physical activity.  Compliance and success with such vague recommendations is poor and overall success rates are relatively low.  One factor reported to turn that all around is counseling patients to get better sleep.

The circadian rhythm dictates eating patterns, as well as, several metabolically important hormones: Melatonin, Insulin, Glucose, Ghrelin and Leptin, in particular.

With sleep disruption, either fragmented sleep or shift work showed  a 9h misalignment in circadian rhythm significantly effected hormones and therefore risk for obesity.  Shift workers, in study population, sleeping during the day saw a flattening of cortisol secretion, increased insulin concentration and carbohydrate oxidation.  Those with fragmented sleep or delayed sleep latency saw increased glucose and decreases in glucagon like peptide 1, with decreased protein oxidation.  Both groups saw no change in energy expenditure or BMR, leading one to conclude, sleep may be a primary point of intervention in the obese patient over  dietary coaching alone.

Am J Clinical Nutrition-Gonnissen,H

 

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