Does Sleep Affect Weight?

Could a lack of sleep be affecting your waistline? The relationship between sleep and weight management is only just becoming more fully understood, but here are some key points of this emerging area of study.

Sleep-Deprived People are More Likely to Eat More

The less you sleep, the more you are likely to eat—especially late-night snacking. Why? Sleep deprivation negatively affects appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin and increases the number of circulating endocannabinoids in the body; this kicks off a cycle of stimulating the appetite and increasing the desire to snack.

Research shows that sleep-deprived people are not as satisfied with food and, thus, overeat. One study showed that, on average, overtired people will consume up to an extra 1000 calories per day. This can easily mean 10-15 pounds of weight gain over a year. 

A Tired Body is Less Able to Manage Calories

Good sleep positively affects the body’s metabolic state by fine-tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose. Sleep-deprived bodies not only want to eat more, but also are less likely to manage consumed calories effectively, especially elevated sugar in blood. 

Sleeping fewer than seven hours a sleep increases the probability of gaining weight, being overweight or obese and developing type 2 diabetes. Multiple international studies have found higher rates of type 2 diabetes among people who reported routinely sleeping less than six hours.