Circadian Rhythm

Aside

Two interesting interviews on CBC Radio regarding circadian rhythm.

The first is an interview with a researcher about a study linking risk of breast cancer with years of working graveyard shifts.  This is followed by another interview regarding circadian rhythm in general.

Interview on CBC http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/news-promo/2012/06/12/the-graveyard-shift-and-risks-of-breast-cancer/

Sleep Link to Cravings

Just out is a study of sleep apnea in people with diabetes.  This is a small study, but worth noting.  LINK to report of study in Medical News Today.

They report:

“They found that in a small sample of clinic patients, the risk for sleep apnea was high among diabetics compared with non-diabetics, and that sleep apnea appeared to be associated with carbohydrate craving.”

The researcher comments:

“Previous studies have shown that sleep deprivation may lead to changes in hormones that regulate appetite and hunger,” Siddique said. “These hormonal changes can lead to significant craving for high-calorie carbohydrates such as cookies, candy, breads, rice and potatoes. The current study supports previous findings by validating this in a community sample of diabetics.”

Have a look at the article to get a better understanding of what was found and what it means.

Reference:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2012, June 15). “Link Between Sleep Apnea And Increased Risk For Carbohydrate Craving Among Diabetics.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/246563.php.
Addendum June 16th, in response to the comment below regarding observational studies:
The many limitations of observational studies are well known and always important to keep in mind.  They do provide a useful role in suggesting directions to look when trying to figure out actual cause and effect.  For many of the questions we need answers for, studies that could validly test for cause and effect are hard to come by or even in practice not going to be done, due to issues of study size, study costs, or simply what would have to be done to the human subjects in the process of testing for cause and effect.
In the case of this study, you get some insight into the motivation to conduct the research when you look towards the end of the article:
“The management of patients with diabetes and or metabolic syndrome based solely on pharmacotherapy, exercise and nutritional modifications without taking into account the risk of sleep apnea may not lead to optimal outcomes for patients suffering from these chronic diseases.”
It seems they are looking to build a case for more attention to the problem of sleep apnea in the era of managed care and protocol-driven medicine. Notice they do not claim any proof of causation and they are not trying to use the study results found in order to justify an intervention of any sort (medication, lifestyle or otherwise), just to justify more awareness of the need to explore for possible sleep apnea in people with diabetes.  Obviously, the well-known “big neck” rule is not succeeding in getting the job done, leaving people suffering from sleep apnea undiagnosed.
Here is a post which links to a discussion between 2 couples regarding their experiences with low-carb, real foods living. Part of the conversation is about sleep apnea.  LINK

The Precious – Sleep Denial and What We Throw Under the Bus

This photo shows an owl perched at a tree bran...

This photo shows an owl perched at a tree branch at night. According to Brit, this is Barred Owl (Strix varia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rock we are battered against.

The public health hill hardest to take.

The “precious”, gripped ever tighter in our hands no matter the consequences.

We wants it, the “precious”.*

OK, what on earth could I be referring to?.  Well, pick your metaphor or I’m sure you could come up with a few of your own.  What I am referring to is:

Denial of the need for adequate sleep.

Denial of the need for circadian rhythm health.

We don’t like being accountable. I sure don’t. It’s so boring and frustrating.  Aren’t we born to be free?  As a society, we’ve had to learn the hard lessons about money.  Now we are having to learn the hard lessons about food choices and weight health (and no, I don’t mean the simple calories-in-calories-out stuff).  Barely visible yet on the public radar are the hard lessons we will face about chronic under-sleeping and chronic circadian rhythm disruption.

When it comes to weight health, think of all the blogs and comments and tweets out there. I have seen countless posts and comments from people willing to turn their whole eating pattern on its head. (I have.) Willing to learn and chase the smallest details. (I have.)  Willing to spend hour upon hour tracking various people’s opinions and the latest commentary, insights and research. (I do.) Many put time and effort into being more active or engaging in a deliberate exercise program.  People talk about which medications might interfere with weight health.  Some pursue unusual techniques that are like grasping at straws. There are countless ways people take measures aimed at improving their ability to have and hold their chosen target weight.  Many times a lot of time, effort and loss of personal freedom is involved.

In all this, how often is a goal of adequate sleep and normalised circadian patterns targeted or achieved?

How much of all the other stuff we are doing is only necessary because of the chronic sleep/circadian issues?

In other words, what are we throwing under the bus in our attachment (sometimes fierce attachment) to keeping short sleeping hours and eating/sleeping/waking in disordered, non-rhythmic patterns?  One type of cost is the health impact from the sleep/circadian issues themselves.  This is a huge field of study and I won’t try to review it here.  A number of studies have linked sleep deprivation and circadian disruption with a tendency to gain weight.  (You can see some of this under the category “Sleep Heals” in the sidebar.)

The second type of cost is what we do to try to cope with the effects of the sleep disruption – instead of sleeping!  Just as an example, what if most of your tendency to gain weight would resolve if you just got well into a program of regular adequate sleep and a regular circadian patterns of sleep and meal timing?  How much less burden might there be from all the total things you do now that are for the purpose of helping you control your weight?  For example, research suggests that you would likely have some improvement in your ability to handle carbohydrates.  Research also suggests you would likely have less of a desire for sweets or reward foods.

If you have been chronically low on sleep, the benefits of getting regular adequate sleep are not going to be clear in the first weeks. In fact, there is a confusing phenomenon whereby people who have really been driving themselves and then get a night or two of unlimited sleep can suddenly feel much worse as the adrenalin levels fall and the body pushes you towards going into a “repair and recovery” mode of increased sleep for a while. This is very often mis-interpreted. People take this phenomenon, which is really an expression of the body’s desperation for sleep, as an excuse justifying their high-adrenalin habits.

The heart of the matter is time. We want more time. I don’t know of any other topic in weight control that can make so many people respond as if they are personally under threat.  In terms of emotional response, this topic is even worse than that terrible and much dreaded horrific topic – breakfast.

Of course, the topic of breakfast and skimped/skipped meals ultimately also involves time and time pressures for many people. (See the page “Restrict/Rebound” under Key Keys above.)

So, what are you “throwing under the bus” instead of turning the computer off and getting to bed?  I’ll be asking myself the same question more often.

*Lord of The Rings

Sleep Can Turn Off Obesity Genes, Study Says

Aside

Sleep Can Turn Off Obesity Genes, Study Says.

I think the wide-spread lifestyle of going short on sleep will turn out to be one of the toughest nuts to crack in the quest for answers to the obesity crisis.   Ask a person to try giving up sugar – well, that’s a possibility; bring up the subject of trying lower carbs, well, perhaps; suggest they learn a whole new way of eating – OK, I could try that.  Ask a person to even just try a few weeks of getting sufficient sleep and you had better duck before they throw something at you.

Will lack of sleep be our Waterloo?