“I am hungry and never feel full even though I am eating low carb!
What is wrong with me?”
Does this sound like you? The first place to look when you are having excessive hunger is your sleep.
What in the world does sleep have to do with hunger and weight loss?
Are you getting enough sleep? We all NEED 7-8 hours of sleep per night in order to have normal hunger hormones, to maintain our weight, and to enjoy overall health. If you are staying up checking email, visiting with your Facebook friends, watching TV or any other activity keeping you from getting enough sleep:
TURN OFF THOSE ELECTRONICS AND GO TO SLEEP EARLIER….SAVE TIME FOR 7-8 HOURS PER NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT.
Are you in bed 7-8 hours a night but do not feel rested when you get up in the morning?
Do you awaken frequently during the night?
Do you get up to urinate several times a night?
Do you snore and if you do, has your bed partner observed paused or gasps in your breathing when you snore?
Do you need a nap every day just to get through the day?
Do you fall asleep during movies or meetings or even when stopped at a stop sign?
You could have sleep apnea, which is blockage of your airway periodically during sleep. This is a flaw in the design of your jaw and tongue, with the base of the tongue being too large for your mouth and your jaw too small. Essentially, you are being suffocated by your tongue a number of times per hour while you sleep, if you have significant sleep apnea. This has MANY unhealthy effects on the human body (development of pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, and more).
We have two hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) which regulate our food intake. After eating something we get a signal about 20 minutes later, that we have had enough to eat. Ghrelin is the “I’m hungry” hormone and leptin is the “I’ve had enough” hormone. With poor sleep for ANY reason (but particularly untreated sleep apnea) ghrelin is very elevated (you are abnormally hungry) and leptin is very low or off (you have no “off” switch and continue eating). Over-eating chronically causes weight gain which unfortunately, worsens the degree of sleep apnea making the hormone imbalance even worse (and your overeating worse).
Nothing effects the degree of sleep apnea more than weight!!
If you gain weight, it will be be worse; if you lose weight your degree of sleep apnea will improve and in some cases will be in complete remission.
What does this mean for weight loss?
You may be able to get weight off with significant effort on your part, but you will always be hungry. If your sleep apnea is in complete remission with weight loss, your hunger will go away.
If you are still abnormally hungry with weight loss, sleep apnea is still present and you are guaranteed to gain the weight back over time (which worsens the degree of sleep apnea making you even more abnormally hungry).
If these symptoms sound like you or if you have poor sleep chronically, see your local sleep specialist for an evaluation and sleep study. There are problems other than sleep apnea that can be disrupting your sleep, with medications and other treatments to improve the quality of your sleep (and your weight as a result).
Attend a local AWAKE sleep apnea support group and consult a sleep specialist in your area for evaluation. It can change your life and your weight.