Is The Loss of Sleep Making You Fat, Or Is Fat Making You Lose Sleep?
I had written an article, “Is Too Little Sleep Making You Fat?” where I reiterated the science behind the lack of sleep causing an increase in hunger, especially for high calorie food.
New research has come to light that might flip this around. Research from University of Pennsylvania and published in PLOS Biology suggests excessive weight can cause poor sleep.
The research conducted on worms may not apply to humans, it is suggestive of the biochemistry involved and needs further research.
The researchers were studying the relationship between metabolism and sleep. Through a series of studies using genetically engineered worms that could not sleep, they found that ATP levels decreased and the worms became obese. Researchers focused in on the worm’s KIN-29 gene thinking that the release of fat is promoted during sleep. When researchers expressed an enzyme that freed fat from the worms, they were able to sleep again.
The KIN-29 is homologous to our human Salt-Inducible Kinase (SIK-3) gene which is associated to signal sleep.
In my previous article on fat, “Understanding Fat — The Secret To Getting Your Body Fat Under Control”. Fat is not an accumulation of inert cells. Fat is not inert. Fat is an organ, a part of your endocrine system. As part of your endocrine system, it can receive and transmit chemical messages to your brain and the rest of your body.
What researchers are theorizing is that there may be a signalling problem between fat and the brain, that may be causing short sleep and the tendency toward obesity.