How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Weight

Uncategorized Jun 05, 2024

Sleep often takes a backseat in our fast-paced world. Whether we’re working late to meet deadlines, binge-watching shows, or going out with friends or family, many of us sacrifice sleep without fully realizing the consequences—like the impact it has on our weight. Sleep deprivation isn't just about feeling groggy the next day; it wreaks havoc on our waistlines.

Read on to understand why sleep is so important and how it affects our weight.

The Science

When we don’t get enough sleep, it throws off important hormones in our body like leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin, aka the “hunger hormone,” stimulates our appetite and causes cravings. Studies show that lack of sleep elevates ghrelin levels, leading to increased hunger and overeating. Leptin is the hormone that signals our body that it’s full. When leptin levels are low, it grows harder for our bodies to know that we’ve eaten enough. This imbalance causes overeating and weight gain.

Sleep, Stress, and Snacking

Sleep deprivation impacts our stress levels and emotional well-being. When we're tired, we're more prone to stress, anxiety, and irritability. This can lead us to turn to sugary or high-calorie treats to boost our mood. Lack of sleep also leads to heightened levels of cortisol (aka the “stress hormone,”) which leads to increased belly fat, weight gain, and metabolic disorders.

Quality Matters

If you spend eight hours in bed but it’s restless sleep or you wake up a lot, this can disrupt the body's natural rhythm and affect weight regulation. Conditions like sleep apnea and insomnia, or an environment that is too bright or noisy, all compromise sleep quality.

Metabolic Function

Studies show that insufficient sleep can alter metabolic processes, leading to reduced calorie burn and impaired glucose metabolism. This means that even if you're eating the same amount, your body may not burn calories as efficiently, which causes weight gain over time.

The Vicious Cycle

The relationship between sleep and weight forms a vicious cycle. Poor sleep leads to weight gain, which in turn causes problems sleeping. Excess weight contributes to conditions like sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, further perpetuating the vicious cycle of weight gain and poor sleep.

Quality sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and overall well-being. Make it a priority to get quality sleep for the duration that’s right for you and your health—and waistline—will benefit.


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