Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain Connection

21 04 2014

 

Seek adventures in life.  This will motivate you to stay active.

Seek adventures in life. This will motivate you to stay active.

How many of you have a tendency to stay up late and then eat too much before bed time?  Or do you lack a good night’s sleep because of daily stress, anxiety or snoring while you sleep?  Do you wake up with little energy and then eat too much throughout the day?  Believe it or not there is a connection between these causes of your sleepless nights and weight gain.

Most are unaware when we lack a good night’s sleep we are then sleep deprived and our body is chemically stimulated internally and then activated to gain weight.  Much of this cause and effect has to do with one or more behavioral habits, environmental stressors and/or medical disorder that cause us to lose sleep.  And when we lose sleep our internal body’s hormonal and metabolic conditions shift to crave more food.

Let’s first address staying up late at night and eating too much before bed.  At night when you don’t sleep “for whatever reason” your body continues to burn energy and you feel hungry.  Instead of sleeping, you’re prone to eat more.  And this is the worse time to eat when the body’s metabolism is at its lowest metabolic burn rate.  Staying up late and watching Television and eating fattening food snacks are behavioral habits that don’t help in maintaining healthy body weight.

However, if the reason you do this is because of a bad habit of watching late night TV, the good news is this habit can be changed.  The not so good news is… if this habit is caused from chronic stress, anxiety and/or depression; behavioral therapy and/or medical treatment may be needed to address a primary medical condition prior to changing a secondary bad food habit used as a comfort crutch.

When you stay up late or don’t get enough sleep and if this trend continues, you’re going to feel low motivation to work, exercise, or even work on relationships, etc.  But a worse effect often results from sleep deprivation, i.e., food cravings that cause us to eat more than we would otherwise.  This is likely the result of hormonal and metabolic imbalances caused from sleep deprivation that attempt to resolve the body of feeling bad, or experiencing low energy levels.  And this feeling is typically coupled to a varying degree; a depressed mind-body [known as psychosomatic relationship].  Sleep deprived individuals are often unaware of these internal mechanisms and how they internally activate to provide the body a feeling of normalcy.

“The lack of sleep also changes the balance of hormones in your body, especially ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin spurs you to eat, and leptin tells you when to stop. When you are sleep-deprived, your body creates more ghrelin and less leptin; this leads to more eating, additional calories, and extra weight gain (Brooks 2014).”  “In fact, have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day when no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied?  If so, then you have experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin (Bouchez 2014).”

Also when tired you’re more prone to feel stressors and anxiety associated with the daily grind.  Why?  Because you lack the energy to mentally and physically shield yourself of their effects within your internal environment.  And when the body feels overwhelmed and depressed, then the mind and spirit is also less able to cope these stressors.

Sleeping disorders and behavioral habits can cause acute and chronic depression.  “People with insomnia often wake repeatedly during the night and don’t feel rested in the morning.  Insomnia can cause or worsen fatigue, already a symptom of depression.  ‘Sleep is clearly linked with mental health and insomnia is considered a hallmark of depression (Tracey 2014).”

Your weight gain nemesis may be directly related to any number of internal or external environmental conditions, or stressors that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.  Then you may feel depressed and eat for comfort; or your body tells you it’s time to eat even when not hungry. Or by simply not getting enough sleep the fat cell is unable to release its stored energy.

    “For years researchers have known that adults who sleep less than five or six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. Among children, sleeping less than 10 hours a night is associated with weight gain.  ‘Now a fascinating new study suggests that the link may be even more insidious than previously thought.  Losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain (Parker-Pope 2013).” 

    “Perhaps the largest study to track the effects of sleep habits on weight gain over a period of time was presented by the American Thoracic Society International Conference in 2006. The study that included nearly 70,000 middle aged women specifically pointed out those women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night (Menopot 2014).”

It’s interesting to note within the fat cell itself, there is a physiological responses to metabolic hormonal imbalances caused by a poor night’s sleep.  In other words studies show us the longer one goes without sleep causes fat cells to malfunction by preventing its release of stored energy.  And for those that experience too many sleepless nights the risk of diabetes, circulatory and cardio health risk increases with weight gain.

“To investigate, Matthew Brady at the University of Chicago and his colleagues tested fat cells taken from the bellies of seven adults after four nights of sleeping up to 8 and a half hours, and then again after four nights on a measly 4 and a half hours.  The team found that after sleep deprivation fat cells from the same person were on average 30 per cent less responsive to insulin – a hormone that makes muscle, liver and fat cells take up glucose after a meal.”

“High blood glucose levels are linked to diabetes. Fat cells also normally release the appetite-regulating hormone leptin [tells you when to stop eating]. Brady suggests that if sleep-deprived cells are generally malfunctioning, this mechanism may also be disrupted, affecting weight gain (Hamzelou 2012).”

There are many reasons one may not get a good night’s sleep.  We’ve briefly touched on insomnia, behavioral habits and suggested environment stressors that keep us from getting a good night’s sleep.  But there are also medical conditions like sleep apnea, chronic depression and other medical disorders patients need help with in order to get a good night’s sleep, maintain healthy body weight and overall good health.

“It appears individuals can learn to change habits and behaviors through a natural process of removing an identified anxiety-stress stimulus.  Once the anxiety or stress trigger mechanism has been removed; anxiety and depression symptoms may be alleviated for many and go away never to return (Woodard 2010).”

Outside of environmental stressors and bad habits, there is a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea that causes many to lose sleep because of excessive snoring.  But it must be pointed out those who snore don’t necessarily have sleep apnea.  Which will become apparent after review of the summarized sleep study below.

Sleep apnea occurs during sleep and when muscle tissue is relaxed at the back of the throat in a way that partially occludes a clear airway.  In some cases, as more weighted tissue is involved around the throat area the structural airway integrity buckles and partially blocks it of free air passage.  This buckling can be thought of as a breach of the airway and in a way that causes excessive snoring.

There is also a neurological condition that is not a mechanical breach or related to an overweight condition.  Instead sleep apnea can occur due to the CNS (Central Nervous System) signaling the brain to stop breathing intermittently during sleep.  This type of breathing interruption is less understood but can be treated in the same way as a mechanical blockage using CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or dental device that keeps airway open.  Also both medical conditions of sleep apnea “mechanical and neurological” can also occur simultaneously.  In any event, dependent on medical diagnosis can be medically treated and/or surgically corrected to varying degrees of a successful outcome.

Those with sleep apnea repeatedly wake up because of snoring and occluded airway and May, or may not be consciously aware of doing so. But in almost all cases, those with untreated sleep apnea rarely feel they’ve had a good night’s sleep, feel unrested when they awake and are typically tired throughout the day.

Sleep apnea is serious business because respiratory failure and other health risk have led to death.  If you or spouse have a serious snoring problem, or stop breathing intermittently during sleep, or can’t sleep for whatever reason… see your physician and request a sleep study test.

Sleep Study Tests Show the Following Results:  While asleep, those with sleep apnea unknowingly experience episodes where they stop breathing.  This can occur 5-50 times per hour and up to 300 times during regular sleep.  But if the “non-breathing” episodes only last seconds or less, this does not appear to have a significant health risk to the body.  But if one is sleeping and averages 30 “non-breathing” episodes per hourly average where breathing stops up to 10 second intervals minimum between breaths, this is where serious health risk increases and incremental/accumulative damage to the heart occurs.  While loved one(s) and friends assume you simply have a bad, loud obnoxious snore, this could in fact be an indicator of something far worse than irritating those around you.  And also be aware, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea.  Only a sleep study test can prove this for sure (Woodard 2010).

When we snore and wake up repeatedly, or get little sleep for whatever reason we lack in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  While under REM our skeletal muscles are deeply relaxed and we dream and our food intake throughout the day is better regulated because our hormones and metabolism is refreshed, energized and balanced optimally.

It is especially important if you suffer from stress, anxiety, obesity, respiratory, or other disorder that causes you to lose sleep, seek medical treatment.  Treatment may include anti-anxiety, depression and/or behavioral therapy with, or without hormonal or prescription drug treatment.  If overweight you may also be tested for diabetes, heart and circulatory health, etc. Tests and treatment recommendations may also include sleep study test, CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) or other device treatment, surgery to alleviate sleep disorder condition, etc.

Regardless of what prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep it is possible to target the problem of your sleep deprivation for sake of your health and overall wellbeing.

Developing or resolving good sleep habits and patterns will support healthy body weight, reduce daily stress and anxiety levels; and will provide the feel good energy to live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve.

Works Cited and Article Resources,

Bouchez, Colette. “The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep.” Review. Web log post. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Brooks, Dominique W., MD, MBA. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” LoveToKnow. LoveToKnow Corp., 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Hamzelou, Jessica. “‘Tired’ Fat Cells Might Trigger Obesity.” NewScientist. Reed Business Information Ltd., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.

Menopot. “Insomnia and Weight Gain.” Insomnia and Weight Gain. Menopot, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Lost Sleep Can Lead to Weight Gain.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Tracy, Natasha. “Depression and Sleep Disorders.” HealthyPlace. HealthyPlace, 8 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 24 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Sleep Apnea an Insidious Angel of Death.” Web log post. MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete Inc., 23 July 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, MSC Officer, ANG Ret. 2014 Copyright.  All rights reserved, MirrorAthlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Defeat Anxiety and Panic Attacks

24 11 2010

Calm the Mind and Body, Explore the World

First of all, what is a panic attack?  A panic attack is the feeling that often mimics the symptoms of a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.  Panic attracts happen abruptly and disappears very quickly. These episodes can typically reach a peak of 10 minutes and generally end after half an hour.    First time suffers often call for emergency services.  For those that have experienced a panic attack, it is a very frightening experience to say the least.  Anxiety disorders are an abnormal and pathological fear which many patients are treated by counseling, psychiatric diagnosis and prescription drugs.  There are eight general anxiety disorders, panic attacks are one of them.

In many cases anxiety treatment can be handled through cognitive and behavioral specialist sessions and/or self treatment without the use of drugs.  By identifying the anxiety stimulus with related disorder symptoms a treatment plan can be applied to alleviate, or remove the cause of your anxiety.   It is first recommended you identify your type of symptoms and anxiety disorder through the help of an anxiety specialist if you experience acute to chronic ill-health physical or mental anxiety anguish.

Listed below are the 8 general anxiety disorders

1) General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – This disorder typically affects adults and can occur daily without fixation on one thing.  Anxiety is random and specific cause is not very apparent or apparent at all.

 2) Panic Disorder (panic attack) is brought upon by intense terror and apprehension.  Symptoms:  Trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, etc. 

3)  Agoraphobia – This is an anxiety attack brought upon by a fearful stimulus or situation of open space with nowhere to hide, e.g, airport, malls, outdoors and is associated with panic attack symptoms.   Approximately 3.2 million adults in the US between the ages of 18-54 suffer from this disorder. 

4)  Social anxiety disorder – This fear is associated with feelings of embarrassment, blushing, sweating through social encounter and public speaking.

5)  OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) – Repetitive obsessions that drive one to perform specific acts or rituals.   For example, rituals to remove feelings of impeding harm, or infection to the individual, i.e., constant washing of hands for fear of catching germs, or walking in certain patterns the same way every day to get from point a to b. 

6)  PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) – PTSD disorder is the result of a traumatic experience.  For example a soldier returning back from war, rape, or one that was in a bad car accident.  For these individuals flashbacks, anger and avoidant behaviors, anxiety and depression are common.

7) Separation anxiety –This is when an individual is separated from a place or person which results in anxiety symptoms.  Child hood cases tend to be more severe than in adults. 

8) Childhood Anxiety Disorder – Many children as well as adults feel anxious, worried and fearful with new experiences.  Children’s decision-making ability and perceptions, learning and concentration suffer.   Symptoms include: Attention deficit, eating, sleeping and depression disorders.  Children with parents who suffer similar anxiety reactions to stress most likely will carry this trait.

Common Symptoms, Those that Suffer from Anxiety disorders

Common symptoms include: Eating and sleeping disorders, depression, anger, isolation and fear.  Physical symptoms:  Irregular heart rate, trembling, shaking, inadequate breathing or hyperventilation, chest pain; a feeling of going crazy, or losing control, feeling like you’re going to pass out, stomach pain, nausea, feeling hot or cold, etc.   If you have frequent bouts of any of these types of symptoms you may suffer from an anxiety disorder.  If you suffer from these symptoms and are creating more anxiety see your primary care physician for referral to an anxiety specialist.  Any time one feels out of sorts, overly anxious, or a feeling of “loss of control” it is prudent to seek medical guidance from your primary care physician.

How to alleviate your levels of anxiety,

1.  Identify and remove yourself from fearful, stressful, uncomfortable situations where physical or emotional symptoms of discomfort are felt.

 2.  Do you have emotional support to discuss stressful or anxious situations?  Emotional support whether a good friend or professional is important in helping to identify what brings on the feelings of anxiety.  Also, to have someone you can confide in provides a level of comfort that will reduce anxiety and help target, or identify potential situations, behavior, or habit that may be creating the anxiety.

 3.  Are you able to plan for vacations, take off days to relax, work a hobby, read a good book or exercise?  Finding quite time to relax, meditate, or participate in self interest activities that provides the necessary time to unwind provides peace of mind.  This quality time allows one to reflect in a positive environment to focus; process and reflect on what’s important in life.  And when this time is made available, many times generates solutions to alleviate anxiety conditions in a way that does not occur otherwise.

 4.  Do you have help when you feel over loaded with too much work?  If not, you must make time to discuss work overload and the worry associated and leading to daily anxiety.  If work overload issues are creating a situation that is unhealthy it is necessary to discuss these issues with your supervisor, manager, significant other, therapist or HR representative.  If you don’t, your health will most likely take a turn for the worst, which is not good for you, your family, or employer.

 5.  If you do not take care of your body it can impact brain function.  And when this occurs, for many the psychosomatic (mind/body: body/mind) relationship can experience anxiety symptomatic of panic attacks. If mood is depressed due to extended physically stressful environment for example; depression can become chronic.  And with chronic depression, the mind also connects the body (biologically) to become depressed and anxious simultaneously.  Continued on this path for too long and untreated is a pathological gateway to other forms of illness and disease.

 6.   Habits/behaviors – It should also be noted if you consume alcohol, caffeine, smoke cigarettes, use certain types of drugs:  Over-the-counter medications, prescriptions or recreational drugs may contribute and compound your anxiety disorder.  Also negative behavioral social patterns  coupled with bad habits place many in unhealthy and uncomfortable environments where fear, guilt and social confrontations is part of the anxiety mix.  These types of experiences can cause and contribute to more anxiety as opposed to alleviating the anxiety.  Talk with your doctor about use of any of these vices, or current prescriptions to see if one, or in combination with something else you consume may be a contributing trigger mechanism to your anxiety.

  7.  If your levels of fear and distress are severe see your doctor.  Your doctor may then provide further treatment using a combination of consulting, prescription drugs with further follow up by a therapist that is specialized in anxiety disorders to devise a course of treatment.  Or a treatment program that does not use drugs, or partial use of drug intervention.

 Specialized Types of Anxiety Treatment

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy – This therapy focuses on thought, or cognitions in addition to behaviors.  Both therapies are effective anxiety treatments.  Behavioral change is the focus as opposed to psychological issues from the past.  Takes between 5-20 sessions.

 Exposure therapy – You confront your fears in a safe, controlled environment.  As you face your fear without being harmed your anxiety gradually dissipates.

 Exercise at least 30 minutes a day five times a week for anxiety relief.  Aerobic activity is the best form of exercise to reduce stress and is also good for your heart and weight loss goals.  Walking at a brisk pace is the best low intensity-impact aerobics activity for physical and mental stress anxiety alleviation.  Walking in general is good for your overall fit-healthy goals.

 Hypnosis – While you’re in a state of deep relaxation cognitive-behavioral therapy is also a part of the treatment.  During the session the therapist helps you face your fears.  Facing fears in new and different ways proves to alleviate anxiety problems for many patients in a deep relaxed state of mind-body.

 Relaxation techniques teach one to relax muscles and mental faculties while focusing positive energy to all parts of the mind-body.  This is possible because of progressive mindful relaxation controlled breathing and visualization exercises/techniques.  These sessions provide a feeling of relaxed emotional well-being.

 Biofeedback teaches the conscious mind to recognize the bodies anxiety response through sensors that monitor heart rate, breathing and muscle tension.  These sensory impulse readings then teach awareness of biofeedback casual relationships affecting the anxious mind-body.  This then teaches one to control internal biofeedback to produce a calming effect which equates to reduced internal body anxiety.

 Eat healthy by learning about quality nutritious foods (better known as Super Foods).  Understand that a healthy mind-body is dependent on the nutrients you consume.  Healthy food choices equate to less stress and anxiety and healthier mind-body.  Foods high in super food nutrients provide us with a calming-healthy mind/body effect.

 How to Find an Anxiety Therapist

  1.  Call the national alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264.
  2.  Ask a doctor or nurse for anxiety disorder referrals.
  3.  Search on-line under specific type of anxiety disorder listed above, or general anxiety websites for your particular condition.
  4.  Check your local library and research books listed under anxiety for check out.
  5.  Contact your local university psychology department for local support, group programs, university funded programs, etc.

 Self -Help and Other Treatment Support Recommendations

 If you are living a stressful lifestyle that is creating anxiety, you must find creative ways to make time for yourself, or remove yourself from anxious events, or situations.  Much stress and worry leads many to anxiety symptoms with feelings associated of panic attacks.  If certain persons, places or things cause you to worry, create undue stress and unbearable anxiety, you must find ways to change your environmental situation.

The most natural way to self treat for anxiety is to identify the cause of your ill-health feelings and remove the cause/situation(s) that are creating the stressful anxiety response.  I know, easier said than done for most of us.  If this is not possible you must seek professional treatment to find ways to alleviate the anxiety stress by understanding what is triggering the internal/external symptoms.  If there are certain habits, or behaviors identified causing anxiety through specialist intervention for example, you can learn to control certain types of environmental stimulus, habits, or behaviors that are the cause of the physical ill-health anxiety symptoms.

Through this understanding one can learn to modify, or remove internal and external stress by learning cognitive (thought) awareness, behavioral/habit modification and casual removal associations to change an anxiety outcome.

Summary

It appears in many cases, individuals can learn to change habits and behaviors through a natural process of removing an identified anxiety stress stimulus.  Once the anxiety trigger mechanism has been identified and removed; anxiety symptoms are alleviated and for many go away completely never to return.

The mind is a powerful self-healing instrument.  If you have strong desire, faith and will power you can change your stress anxiety situation and rid yourself of this disorder.   But not without the challenges of making a significant life change, and/or lifelong commitment!  You simply must have the will power to believe you can make change for yourself by believing you can change and make change around you!  And if you don’t have the will power to make a change for your health’s sake and for your family, seek professional medical support and treatment for your disorder before it takes control of your life.  To do any less would be to live in unnecessary pain that need not be!

On-Line Referenced Links:

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2010 Copyright, All rights reserved.  Mirror Athlete Enterprises Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.





Recognize and Treat Bipolar Symptoms

23 04 2009

Bipolar Disorder affects approximately 6 million people in the United States. Those diagnosed with this disorder experience “extreme” highs and lows.  A bipolar high is characterized and may include the following signs and symptoms:  Extreme optimism, euphoria, spending sprees, inflated self-esteem, aggressive behavior, poor sleep patterns, easily distracted, poor concentration, drug abuse, risky behavior, agitation, racing thoughts, rapid speech, increased sexual drive.  While the lows may/may not be characterized by the following symptoms:   Guilt, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, appetite problems, suicidal thoughts or behavior, sleep problems, irritability, sleep problems, lose interests in daily activities, chronic pain without known cause.  The following terminology with this diagnosis may be used, such as, “manic-depressive psychosis,” characterized by excessive happiness and/or melancholic feelings of dejection or deep depression (melancholy).  Bipolar episodes become more frequent with age and can display both mania and depression simultaneously in what is called “mixed state.”  The term psychosis means complete or partial withdrawal from reality with, or without organic damage to the brain.

There are varying degrees, or types of Bipolar Disorders.  Studies show that the characteristic disorders become more prominent and frequent between the ages of 25-40.  Children and teens with the disorder are usually explained away as infrequent characteristics of growing pains, or maturity issues.  Left untreated the disorder benefactor can create much disruption of family, finances, job loss, marital problems, inability to function in society; also leading many victims to suicide.  Those that tend to self treat do so with alcohol and other drugs where addiction complicates matters.  The primary prescription for Bipolar disorder is through pharmacological intervention medications.  Mania and depression is primarily treated through Lithium (common mood stabilizer).  If Lithium is rejected then anticonvulsants are used.   Episodes of mania or manic behavior are also treated with antipsychotics or Benzodiazepines, thereafter mood stabilizers are used.  Other common medications: Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin.

Recommendations,

If you are 21 to 65 years of age and suffer from Bipolar disorder visit Allsup http://www.allsup.com for a free evaluation and disability info, or call 800-279-4357.  Also visit http://www.psychcentral.com, or call 978-992-0008 for more disability and mental health information. I’m not an advocate for either site; I simply have identified two key resources that will steer you in the right direction for help.  These sites offer information on how to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Long-Term Disability (LTD), Medicare benefits and so much more.  They’ve helped thousands of people with bipolar disorders to get back on their feet to include income while working towards independent living.

Issue:“Testicular Cancer  Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2009 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.