Busy people in a busy modern society know that something has to give when it comes to juggling work, family, health, fun and everything else. Far too often, the result is compromised sleep. The truth is, sleep is one of the most important—and overlooked—aspects of health and quality of life.

Sleep and Bariatric Surgery

Waking up well-rested makes you feel ready to tackle the day, but that’s far from the only benefit of getting enough sleep. People who have had bariatric surgery reap extra reward from a healthy sleep schedule, according to a study published in Obesity in September 2019.

Bariatric surgery is the most proven long-term weight loss method available. People who have had bariatric surgery regularly lose 50 percent or more of excess weight. Although many people keep most of it off in the long term, gaining some weight back is the norm.

How much weight is gained is partially determined by sleep quality, this study suggests. Researchers looked at body weight and body mass index (BMI) data from 14 people who had bariatric surgery: before surgery and at 1, 2, 6 and 9 years after surgery. The average amount of weight gain was 5.7 percent.

The study data suggests that the lower amount a person slept on average, the higher the BMI was at 6 and 9 years post-surgery. Also, across all categories (pre-surgery and all post-surgery follow-ups), longer sleep was associated with more weight lost.

Sleep and Obesity

This may be the first study that examined the effects of sleep on weight gain after bariatric surgery, but it is far from the first to explore the relationship between lack of sleep and weight gain. Data from the Nurses Health Study—a large-scale study involving more than 60,000 women over 16 years—suggest that study participants who slept fewer than five hours a night on average were 15 percent more likely to become obese compared to women who slept for more than seven hours a night.

Sleep can also influence eating patterns, with good sleep making a person more likely to eat better. A 2014 review published in American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine found that short sleep duration (less than six hours) was associated with:

  • Eating more food (about 200 calories more per day)
  • Eating more fat
  • Eating more in the morning
  • Having irregular meal times
  • Snacking between meals
  • Spending more money on eating out
  • Eating fewer vegetables

Getting Good Sleep

Sleep is one of the three pillars of good health, along with diet and exercise. If you want to boost your health and energy levels while watching the numbers on the scale get smaller, you need to get enough sleep. Here are some tips for getting better sleep.

  • Keep to a regular schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day (yes, even on weekends).
  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
  • No phones, computers or tablets in the bedroom. Blue light from these devices can impair the production of melatonin, a hormone that’s needed for sleep and regulating your internal clock.
  • Avoid caffeine and large meals for at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Get plenty of exercise during the day to tire yourself out at night.

If you’re overweight or obese and want to make a change, request an appointment at Advanced Laparoscopic Associates. Our expert bariatric surgeons can tell you if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery, describe your options and help you choose the best weight loss plan for you.

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