Brown Fat Activity, Sleep Disorders and Weight Gain
Brown adipose tissue at the intersection of sleep and temperature regulation
Lack of sleep is “a public health epidemic” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. Sleep disorders and weight gain go hand-in-hand and play a role in our obesity epidemic too. CDC data shows that 28% of U.S. adults are sleeping less than six hours a night and that is well below the recommended seven to nine hours.
The foundation of health and wellness is based on three factors of good nutrition, exercise and normal sleep. All three health factors are related: if you are tired it is hard to exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. But getting enough sleep is very difficult. Around 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from one of over 70 sleep disorders. Sleep is a critical part of human biology and metabolism.
With the recent discovery of the importance of brown fat (brown adipose tissue) in humans and the role it plays in our metabolism, it is not surprising that researchers are now looking at how increasing brown fat and beige fat activity could help with sleep disorders and weight gain. Researchers at Washington State University, Levente Kapas and Eva Szentirmai, recently published a paper titled: “Brown adipose tissue at the intersection of sleep and temperature regulation.” In their article they propose that impaired function of brown fat could be basic cause of poor sleep as well as metabolic disorders. Many years of study have shown the relationship between sleep, metabolism and thermoregulation (maintenance of body temperature). Their evidence shows that activated brown fat triggers sleep-promoting signals required for healthy sleep after periods of being awake. Sleep deprivation is commonly tied to obesity in people. Since the researchers found that brown fat activation leads to good sleep, and it is now known that brown fat plays a role in burning calories, they believe a lack of brown fat is a common thread linking obesity and poor sleep in humans.
The importance of brown adipose tissue continues to be uncovered and its importance to sleep disorders and weight gain and obesity is another exciting area to follow. Activation of brown fat in a safe and effective way will lead to improvements in health.