Sleep problems due to orexin imbalance

We all want to sleep well, but that does not mean that we will succeed. Our body must give us the opportunity to fall asleep. Our body becomes sleepy when the hypothalamus in the brain reduces the orexin hormone level in the body. However, if there is an orexin imbalance, which means that the blood hormone level is unusually and continuously high, we cannot sleep. What exactly is orexin and how does it cause sleep problems?

Influence of orexin and sleep problems

  • What is orexin?
  • Why is getting sleepy good?
  • Relationship with and consequence of food
  • Satiety but still awake
  • Remedies for sleep problems


What is orexin?

This is a hormone active in our body and acts as a boost. In other words, we are kept awake by this hormone. In addition to being responsible for sleep, it also influences arousal and also regulates the need for food. On any given day, our body needs a certain amount of energy to continue functioning. This energy is normally obtained by the combustion of food or the conversion of stored glucose and fats into energy. This means that the energy requirement can be met. As soon as the body wants to get energy from food, which is not present, orexin levels rise, making us hungry. To satisfy this, we have to ingest food or wait until the stored glucose and fats are used. When we are full, hormone levels will drop, reducing the need to eat and making us sleepy.

Why is getting sleepy good?

Traditionally, the body has been designed to provide the basic necessities of life. These include multiplication by having sexual intercourse and getting enough food. When this basic need has been met, the hypothalamus responds by reducing the amount of peptide in the body. We then tend to go to sleep, which allows the body to pay full attention to digesting food and obtaining all the necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. In a state of relative sleep, food can therefore be processed most effectively. That’s why many people feel blue after a meal.

Relationship with and consequence of food

Naturally, there is a vicious circle that can occur if the blood hormone level of orexin is disturbed. A large body that is overweight requires relatively more energy to give the body a feeling of saturation. It is also possible that the body:

  • or can never get enough nutrients again, causing blood hormone levels to be continuously too high;
  • or that there is a hormonal imbalance, as a result of which the blood hormone level is kept unreasonably high.

In both circumstances, the proportion of orexin in the body is too high and therefore:

  • the body keeps us awake and;
  • there will be a relatively long or continuous feeling of hunger.


Satiety but still awake

Even though we are full, the body can produce too much orexin, which means we don’t get into the slump before going to sleep. We just stay awake and the body remains too active due to the peptide to sleep. Being awake also requires more energy from the body and so we eat more. This causes people to gain more weight and, as a result, the conditions for the body do not become more favorable. What can be done about such a condition of the body, how can that vicious circle be broken?

Remedies for sleep problems

Because relatively little is known about the effects of the hormone, it was only discovered in 1998, but the relationship between food intake and sleep was only recognized at a much later stage, and no extensive studies have been conducted on the hormone. Because there may be a hormone imbalance caused by the hypothalamus, it is wise to make a scan of the brain to rule out a tumor on the hypothalamus. However, a number of tips can help induce sleep and suppress hunger:

Sleep inducers or sleeping pills

This can be in the form of healthy food, but can also be medicines to induce sleep. Be informed by your treating physician. You can often induce sleep with healthy food, but in this case it will be in combination with additional medications.

Anti-peptide agents

Using an anti-peptide agent should do the trick. Suppressing the hormone causes blood hormone levels to decrease, allowing hormonal balance to be restored. The possibility of going to sleep increases because we tend to get tired more quickly.

Sleep therapy

To break the spiral of not being able to sleep, sleep therapy in combination with sleep inducers can be a solution. Sleep hypnosis via an app can also be useful.

Adjusted diet

There is a clear relationship between blood hormone levels, sleep and eating too much food. Normally there will be overweight or obesity. A healthier lifestyle by following a healthy weight loss program therefore seems appropriate. Because it is primarily about feeling full, a solid protein diet is an obvious choice.If you have trouble falling asleep and you clearly have sleep deprivation, this has physical and mental consequences. Always consult a doctor about how to fall asleep effectively, but also about how you can effectively break the vicious circle.

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