Can Lack of Sleep Make You Fat?

Could lack of sleep be causing you to gain weight?

If you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep.

Eventually, sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.

The immediate result? You may be able to fight off sleepiness. Poor food choices coupled with lack of exercise set the stage for obesity and further sleep loss.

If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.

Not getting enough sleep is common – especially in the U.S.

Understanding the Sleep-Diet Connection

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“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly.

On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, he says. If you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you could start dropping weight.

Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones.

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin.

  • Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.
  • Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”

More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.

“You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived.

So, recommendation as part of your new way of life–eating right and following the rules, exercise (even if it is just 15-30 minutes a day of walking) and SLEEP!

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