Extended Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain


Extended Sleep Deprivation Causes Weight Gain



Abnormal sleep cycles disrupt our normal metabolic functions and bodily appetite control functions, causing weight gain. Taipei City Hospital Zhong Xiao Branch general internal medicine department director Dr. Shi-Ru Jiang notes that according to research, by only sleeping four hours a day, ghrelin hormones which stimulate hunger will increase, causing appetites to rise, metabolisms to malfunction, and making it difficult for the body to remain at homeostasis. When sleep deprivation is paired with long-term stress, circulatory illnesses are likely to occur.


Extended work hours and less time to sleep has caused some who want to fall asleep unable to. Dreadful worries linger in their minds that make it difficult to fall asleep. Dr. Shi-Ru Jiang points out that if stress increases and serotonin and other neurochemicals are lacking, patients often experience a diminished sense of happiness, difficulty in falling asleep, an increase in appetite, and increased hormonal secretion. Therefore, these patients also have the most difficulty keeping a normal metabolism. A research from America’s Cornell University concludes, that when people only sleep four hours a day, their ghrelin hormones increase, and hence these people naturally eat more in ways what are counterproductive for weight control and weight loss.  As for stress-induced problems, Dr. Shi-Ru Jiang recommends exercising as the best methods to relieve stress.


Stress is often the leading cause to having trouble falling asleep. Doctors warn patients that choose to buy multiple sleep-inducing medications because of their stress-related insomnia, but do not attempt to relieve stress through adjusting their lifestyle habits and exercise, are doing themselves a disservice.


According to TCM Dr. Gwei-Fei Chen, the correct method to lose weight varies by person, and hence suitable adjustments need to be made to prescriptions, which mainly induce higher metabolism. Furthermore, diet and exercise combined should also help burn excess calories. Even the hours you sleep have an effect in maintaining your figure. This is mainly because if your body has not reached the required 7~8 hours to recuperate, the body will not have been able to secrete enough serotonin and dopamine, and hence disrupting the entire circulatory system’s normal function, leading to increases to appetite and cravings for carbohydrates. These events would greatly compromise the effects of weight loss.


In terms of identifying which TCM subscriptions should be made, considerations are based off the patient’s constitution; syndromes of liver depression and qi stagnation can be treated with Gentiana Combination (Long Dan Xie Gan Tang); syndromes of yin deficiency with fire effulgence can be treated with Rehmannia Six Formula (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan); syndromes of dual deficiency of the heart and spleen can be treated with Ginseng & Longan Combination (Gui Pi Tang); syndromes of phlegm-dampness syndrome induced obesity paired with insomnia can be treated with Ginseng & Zizyphus Formula (Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan) and Citrus & Pinelliae Combination (Er Chen Tang).


In terms of acupuncture points, Dr. Chen indicates that the Shen Men, Nei Guan, Zu San Li, and Bai Hui points can be used to aid sleep. To induce weight loss, Shui Fen, Tian Shu, Da Hung, Yin Ling Chuan, San Yin Jiao, and Tai Chong points can be used to increase metabolism. In terms of diet recommendations, coffee, tea, and coke should be avoided. Recommended lifestyle practices include regular sleep schedules and exercise. Avoid sleeping in the day and waking up in the night and eating sweet or oily foods prior to sleeping


Lastly, Dr. Chen recommends the following tea beverage as an additional remedy: boil 2 maces (qian) of Citrus Peel (Chen Pi), 3 maces (qian) of Zizyphus (Suan Zao Ren), and 2 maces of (qian) Hawthorn Fruit (Shan Zha) in 600cc of water. When the drink cools to be warm to the tongue, the concoction is ready. This tea can aid dispelling spleen dampness, tranquilize the Shen, and improve metabolism, aiding the body in breaking down and burning fat.

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