Mind sleep

Published on February 15th, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe


More ZZZ’s, Less XXXL’s

Think that fat is an inert gloop that just sits there and won’t budge?


Fat secretes a hormone called that tells you when you are full.

That hormone is called Leptin!

Leptin (along with another hormone, ghrelin), is responsible for regulating the balance of energy in the body by indicating when it is hungry and when it is full

Leptin affects body weight and is secreted primarily by fat cells, and signals the hypothalamus about the amount of fat storage in the body. Decreased leptin tells the body there is a shortage of calories and makes you hungry, while increased levels promote energy expenditure.

Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and stimulates appetite, increasing appetite before meals.

A recent study looked at nocturnal levels of leptin and ghrelin:

It showed that chronic insomnia disrupts one of these two hormones – ghrelin

Reported in the May 2009 issue of the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, Sarosh Motivala (assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA), and colleagues, looked at these two hormones that are primarily responsible for regulating the body’s energy balance, telling the body when it is hungry and when it is full.

The study found that chronic insomnia disrupts one of these two hormones.

People with normal healthy sleep were compared with chronic insomniacs and the levels of the two hormones were measured at various times throughout the night.

Leptin levels averaged out over the night to be roughly the same between the two groups

But – ghrelin was 30 percent lower in insomnia sufferers.

Decreased levels of ghrelin would seem to inhibit weight gain – an increase in ghrelin stimulates appetite.

Comparing the findings with other, earlier studies on sleep deprivation Motivala speculated that a switch may occur during the day: Sleep loss leads to increased ghrelin and decreased leptin, stimulating appetite (this switch is now being studied).

“The current study shows that insomnia patients have a dysregulation in energy balance that could explain why these patients gain weight over time,” said Motivala, who is also a member of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA. “This is an exciting finding because it highlights how diverse behaviors like sleep and eating are connected. We are just beginning to explore the possible consequences of these connections, but it is another example of the importance of a good night’s sleep for the body.”

It has also been shown that if you eat before you go to sleep it impacts on the quality of sleep by negatively affecting hormones that affect healing i.e. Human Growth Hormone,  Testosterone and Erythropoietin.


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About the Author

Margaret Pardoe

first trained and practiced as a State Registered Nurse and State Certified Midwife in the UK, and thereafter, as a Master Herbalist, Registered Iridologist and Accredited Journey Therapist. More recently she trained as a Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner with co-founder and creator of NLP, Richard Bandler. She has a lifetime of experience in both allopathic and alternative medicine and in mind/body healing techniques.

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