Why Sleep Matters for Weight Loss Surgery Patients

If you’re like most adults, you’re not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. And while busy schedules, careers, and taking care of our families & ourselves make an early bedtime tricky, there are some important weight loss implications to skipping out on a good night’s sleep.

Sleep & reduced sugar intake

Losing weight after weight loss surgery, or a non-surgical procedure like the gastric balloon, has a lot to do with your new eating habits. These procedures are tools that give your efforts a major boost, and allow your diet and lifestyle changes to work. Studies have shown that people who get more sleep typically eat fewer carbs and sugar the next day. It’s believed that when we’re tired, our bodies crave the instant energy boost associated with refined carbs and sugars. However, people are often more tired after the initial boost of a sugary snack wears off, and these eating habits are less conducive to weight loss.

Sleep & hunger hormones

There’s a hormone called ghrelin that takes a big part of the responsibility for those hunger pangs we feel. In fact, ghrelin is often referred to as “the hunger hormone”. People who have the gastric sleeve procedure, have a portion of their stomach removed that creates ghrelin. That’s one reason sleeve patients are believed to report substantial decreases in their feelings of hunger. In terms of sleep, several studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to an increased production of ghrelin.

Not only do we see increased ghrelin in people who are not getting enough sleep, but we can also see a decrease in their leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that gives us a feeling of being satisfied or full. Between an increase in the hunger hormone, and a decrease in leptin which tells us we’re full, it’s easy to see how a lack of sleep can promote overeating.

Sleep & lower metabolism

Researchers are unsure why a lack of sleep seems to have a direct tie to slower metabolism, but it does appear that there’s a connection. This is believed to be one reason that people with off-hours work times have higher rates of obesity. These groups include nurses, truck drivers, and other night-shift workers. In controlled studies, people who ate the same number of calories and worked either a day or night shift, burned slightly fewer calories if they were on a night shift. These workers need to be particularly careful about eating habits that could get in the way of weight loss after bariatric surgery or a gastric balloon.

Sleep & effects on lifestyle

A variety of studies have looked at the effects of sleep on weight loss. While it’s clear that different people need different amounts of sleep, and a lack of sleep affects people in various ways, here are some common findings about sleep and weight loss/gain:

  • People who are sleep deprived tend to eat several hundred more calories per day
  • People who have a good night’s sleep snack less on average
  • Adults who sleep less generally have more food cravings, especially for carbohydrates
  • Less sleep is tied to slower metabolism

When you choose to change your life with weight loss surgery or the gastric balloon, you are beginning a journey that is full of lifestyle changes. While it’s common to mostly think about the eating aspects of how you can achieve success, sleep is also a highly important aspect. Not only does less sleep get in the way of losing weight, but it may be aggravated by obesity-linked conditions like sleep apnea. We are happy to speak if you have any questions about our procedures, what life is like after weight loss surgery, or how our program can support you on your journey to success. Our weight loss team can be reached at (855) 690-0565.

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