we can better understand the relationship to sleep


  • The relationship between poor sleep and weight gain is an established fact.
  • According to one study, being overweight is the cause of poor sleep, not the other way around.

Poor sleep quality has been shown many times to lead to weight gain. In fact, in humans, severe sleep disturbances can cause increased appetite and insulin resistance. As a result, people who regularly sleep less than 6 hours per night have a higher likelihood of obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, how sleep and diet are related is not yet clear. According to a study published in the journal Plos Biologyobesity can lead to poor sleep.

“We want to know what exactly causes sleep. There is a link between lack of sleep and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, but it’s just an association. Whether obesity is the cause of a tendency in a nap “said Alexander van der Linden, associate professor of biology at the University of Nevada (USA) and co-author of the study.

To study the relationship between metabolism and sleep, he and his colleagues conducted an experiment on small larvae called Caenorhabditis is a species of flowering plant (C. elegans) and modified a gene, KIN-29, to turn off a neuron that controls sleep. Because this gene is homologous to the salt-inducible kinase (SIK-3) gene in humans, it is known to signal sleep pressure. As a result, the larvae lose their ability to sleep. Scientists then discovered that the level of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s energy source, is very low in insomniac worms.

“This suggests that sleep is an attempt to conserve energy; it does not cause energy loss”featured the study’s co-author, David Raizen, associate professor of neurology and member of the Chronobiology and Sleep Institute of Penn (United States).

Releasing fat stores can contribute to better sleep

By knocking out KIN-29 to produce an insomniac worm, the mutant gene also accumulates excess fat similar to human obesity. Therefore, researchers believe that the release of fat stores is a mechanism that can improve sleep. Because it cannot excrete fat, the mutant worm can be insomniac. To prove this theory, the scientists once again manipulated the genes of the larvae, this time to express an enzyme that releases their fat. The animals fell asleep immediately.

According to the researchers, these data may explain in part why obese people are prone to insomnia. “There is a signal problem between fat stores and brain cells that control sleep”said Raizen.

A reliable model of mammal sleep

“Our work suggests that if you fast for a day, you can fall asleep because your energy stores are depleted. There is a common and general view in the field of sleep that sleep is a matter of the brain or nerve cells, and our experience shows that this does not have to be true, ” he added.

Even if these worm discoveries are not directly translated to humans, C.elegans provides a reliable model of mammal sleep, the researchers said. In fact, like other animals with nervous systems, larvae need sleep. But unlike humans, who have complex neural circuits, C.elegans there are only 302 neurons, including a sleep regulator.

If there is much more to know about sleep, this experiment could improve understanding of one of its basic functions and, in the future, perhaps help treat its disorders, scientists hope.

“Chronic lack of sleep is common in our modern societies”

In general, specialists believe that weight gain may be the result of constant lack of sleep. For example, a British study published inEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2016 showed that sleep -deprived people took in an average of 385 extra calories in 24 hours of poor night’s sleep.

“Our results suggest that sleep is a possible third cause of weight gain, after diet and exercise”the researchers said. “Decreased sleep duration is one of the most basic and probably the quickest factors to correct for health benefits. Chronic sleep deprivation is common in our modern societies, and needs more to be addressed. research. The extent of sleep improvement can be a preventive factor. “

Leave a Comment