Is Lack of Sleep Linked to Weight Gain?

May 19, 2021Lose Weight

Do you wonder if there is a link between sleep and difficulty with losing weight?  If so, this article is for you.

Many people don’t get enough sleep at night. In fact, about 30% of adults are sleeping fewer than six hours most nights.

Mounting evidence shows that sleep may be the missing factor for many people who are struggling to lose weight. Here are SEVEN reasons why getting enough sleep may help you lose weight.

Word help written on a weight scale isolated on white background

Poor Sleep Is a Major Risk Factor for Weight Gain and Obesity

Poor sleep has repeatedly been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain.

People’s sleep requirements vary, but generally speaking, research has observed changes in weight when people get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night.

A major review found that short sleep duration increased the likelihood of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adults1.

Another study followed about 60,000 non-obese nurses for 16 years. At the end of the study, the nurses who slept five or fewer hours per night were 15% more likely to be obese than those who slept at least seven hours a night2.

man sleeping on floor instead of exercising
overweight woman eating chocolate donut

Many studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived report having an increased appetite. This is likely caused by the impact of sleep on two important hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is a hormone released in the stomach that signals hunger in the brain. Levels are high before you eat, which is when the stomach is empty, and low after you eat3.

Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. It suppresses hunger and signals fullness in the brain When you do not get adequate sleep, the body makes more ghrelin and less leptin, leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite3.

Poor Sleep Can Increase Your Calorie Intake

People who get poor sleep tend to consume more calories.

A study of 12 men found that when participants were allowed only four hours of sleep, they ate an average of 559 more calories the following day, compared to when they were allowed eight hours.

This increase in calories may be due to increased appetite and poor food choices, as mentioned above. However, it may also simply be from an increase in the time spent awake and available to eat. This is especially true when the time awake is spent being inactive, like watching television.
Gut microbiome diversity is associated with sleep physiology in humans,
If you would like to know more about the Sleep – Weight link you might want to have a look at my latest video. Simply click below.
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Helping You Discover, Empower & Prosper.
Dr Arun Dhir

Dr Arun Dhir
Surgeon, Health & Wellness Advocate.
Author of “Happy Gut, Healthy Weight” and “Create a New You Health Journal
Founder of Radical Wellness Programme