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Most of us know about the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise, but many overlook the important role of sleep when it comes to our overall health. Lack of proper sleep can have many negative consequences on your whole health, including increased rates of obesity and early mortality.
For weight loss surgery patients, knowing about the connection between sleep, health, obesity and recovery is all the more vital to proper healing and weight management on your weight loss journey. We’re here to walk you through these important connections so you’re better equipped to get the rest you need before and after weight loss surgery.
Connection Between Lack of Sleep, Obesity and Poor Health
A study conducted at University of Chicago Medicine found that chronic sleep loss could hasten the onset and increase the severity of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. On a positive note, UCM also found that getting more sleep reduces overall caloric intake, a game changer for anyone on a weight loss journey.
Sleep loss creates a hormone imbalance in the body that promotes overeating and weight gain. Leptin and ghrelin are hormones that regulate appetite, and when you’re not getting enough sleep, the production of these hormones is altered in a way that creates increased feelings of hunger. Sleep deprivation is associated with growth hormone deficiency and elevated cortisol levels, both of which have been linked to obesity.
Additionally, insufficient sleep can impair your metabolism. Decreased sleep is also connected to a higher tendency of choosing high-calorie, heavy foods as well as less exercise due to the fatigue not getting enough sleep causes.
Benefits of Sleep for Bariatric Surgery Patients
After weight loss surgery, you’ll need sleep to help your body heal. Successfully recovering requires getting enough sleep and rest, which can be challenging while your body tries to recover. During sleep, your body can repair tissue, muscle and bone damage. Without this benefit, you may find that your recovery time takes longer.
Additionally, a lack of sleep negatively affects your immune system, which may lead to further complications such as infections. Keeping a healthy immune system is vital after your procedure. With enough sleep, you can help ensure you’ll remain healthy throughout your recovery process and beyond.
Sufficient sleep will also help you adhere to your diet plan and exercise program by keeping your hunger hormones balanced and providing you with enough energy to stay physically active. You may find that long-term weight loss and weight management come easier by consistently getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Hygiene Tips for Weight Loss Surgery Patients
A good night’s sleep can help you feel more rested and ready to take on each day and it will help your body recover better. Here are some helpful sleep hygiene tips to put into practice.
Avoid Large Meals
Avoiding large meals should be a non-negotiable part of your plan following bariatric surgery. Also, late night snacking may be one of the reasons you have trouble falling or staying asleep. Bigger meals take longer to digest than light snacks, so if you’re frequently eating late dinners or not-so-light snacks, you may feel heartburn or general discomfort while you lay down to sleep.
Are you going to bed at the same time each night? How about waking up at the same time each morning — even on weekends? Life can get in the way of keeping consistency, but it’s very important to achieving a better rest night after night that you stay on a regular sleep schedule.
Dim the Lighting
Bright light in the evening can disrupt your quality of sleep. As you begin to wind down for the night, consider dimming your lighting so your eyes can start adjusting for bedtime.
Exercise During the Day
Being physically active during the day helps burn energy and ultimately helps you fall asleep more easily at night. On the other hand, exercising in the evening may make it harder to wind down when it’s time to go to sleep.
Keep Your Room Cool
While we’re sleeping, our bodies naturally cool off. Lower temperatures help you achieve a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Limit Screen Time
A set cut-off time for smart phones, televisions and tablets that’s at least 30 minutes before your usual bedtime is encouraged. Staring at the blue light of those screens can disrupt your body’s internal rhythm, making you feel more alert.
Avoid Environmental Disruptions
Improve your sleep by eliminating as much environmental noise and light as possible. Simple tools such as earplugs, eye masks and white noise can greatly enhance sleep quality.
Treat Underlying Sleep Issues
For those who regularly struggle to get a good night’s sleep, taking time to address a pre-existing sleep problem can help improve your sleep after bariatric surgery. For example, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, and restless leg syndrome are common sleep disorders in patients who struggle with obesity.
The Rest of Your Life: Sleep Well for a Whole You
The importance of prioritizing sleep as part of your weight loss journey cannot be emphasized enough. For the rest of your life following bariatric surgery, commit to a healthy lifestyle that includes good sleep, a balanced diet and physical activity and you’ll be on your way to a lifetime of wellness with us by your side every step of the way.
Learn more about how we can help you achieve your weight loss goals. You deserve to feel whole.