Sleep More to Eat Less: How Sleep Affects the “Hunger Hormone”

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital July 28, 2016

A young caucasian woman standing in front of the open refrigerator at late night, contemplating and wondering about a midnight snack in a domestic home kitchen. She is dressed in a bath robe hungry and looking for food. A symbol of dieting lifestyle. Photographed in vertical format.

Research has shown that ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, is impacted by sleep patterns and weight loss surgery.

Contributors: Malcolm K. Robinson, MD, FACS, Director of the Nutrition Support Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Laura Andromalos, MS, RD, LDN, Bariatric Nutrition Manager at BWH, and Hassan S. Dashti, PhD, a dietetic intern at BWH.

Have you ever considered what makes you feel hungry or full? Many signals within the body help control the amount of food we eat. Ghrelin, which is sometimes called the hunger hormone, is one of these signals.

Produced in the upper part of the stomach, ghrelin is a hormone that increases hunger. When the stomach is empty, ghrelin travels through the bloodstream and tells the brain to signal hunger. After eating, the stomach stops releasing ghrelin. Ghrelin levels change throughout the day. They are high just before eating a meal, letting you know that you are hungry, and low just after eating, letting you know that you are full. Read More »

Getting Ready for Weight Loss Surgery

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 11, 2014

Emily is getting ready for bariatric surgery.

Today’s post is written by BWH patient Emily Bell, a 43-year-old woman who has made the decision to seek surgical treatment for her obesity. Emily is blogging about her experience throughout her journey to better health. This is the second post in chronicling her journey to better health.

Since I made the decision to undergo weight loss surgery, the last two months have included a series of nutritional sessions, meetings with my surgeon and the program’s behavioral psychologist, and many tests. I’ve been living mostly on protein shakes for two weeks, and I’ll enjoy them for two weeks after surgery as well. That will pass. After surgery, I may be nauseous for a few days, but that too will pass.

I’ve been asked repeatedly to look at my eating patterns and recognize how they have to change if this surgery is to be successful. The entire team, especially my surgeon and the behavioral psychologist, has impressed upon me that this will be a dramatic change. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s not for those who can’t do the work required.

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