Sleep Deprivation Leads to Weight Gain

Lack of sleep has become a global problem in the past decade. Everywhere around the world people are sleeping less. This trend has increased in the recent years starting a viscious cycle of sleep deprivation. Many shrug off lack of sleep and say they will only become irratible. Lack of sleep can also play a role in weight gain.

A person’s weight is affected by hormone production. Two hormones in particular are responsible for stimulating and controlling appetite. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for stimulating your appetite while leptin tells your brain that your body is full and does not need any more food.

Guess what happens to these hormones when you don’t get enough shut eye? They are affected in a way that is disastrous to your waist line. When you don’t get enough sleep your body responds by producing more appetite inducing Ghrelin hormone. This means that you will not only be tired, but have an increased appetite ast well.

Plus, when you do eat it will take you longer to feel full and satisfied. This is due to the fact that the amount of leptin hormone in your system has decreased. This wreaks havoc on your waistline as you eat more and more to feel full.

Don’t think ghrelin and leptin hormones play a significant role in your weight fluctuation? Think again. There is a link between lack of sleep and obesity. This link was found by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin. The polls tell it all. A little over 6 out of 10 Americans state that they don’t get 8 hours of sleep each night. Also, a little over 6 out of 10 Americans are over weight. (Source:, 12/06/2004). The link is to close to ignore.

Now some people might be tempted to conclude that being up longer should mean that you are burning more calories. While this is true, the urge to snack and eat something during the hours that we should be in bed is greater because of the increased production of ghrelin. Plus, since we consume more due to decreased levels of leptin, the calories burned by being awake are more than replenished by the food we eat.

Also take into account that we burn 2/3 of all calories while we are resting. Therefore, only 1/3 of our calories are burned during physical activity and exercise. So just because you are awake doesn’t necessarily mean you are burning more calories. It depends on each person and their activity levels.

No, most of us do not believe that sleep deprivation has anything to do with our weight. But, with the majority of Americans overweight and with a growing amount of research illustrating the link between obesity and sleep deprivation, people should start making shut eye a priority.