Have you ever woken up from an insufficient night’s sleep feeling ravenously hungry? Have you ever had entire days during which you felt you couldn’t eat enough to stop your stomach from growling, during a period of poor sleep? You’re not alone. Increasingly, sleep deprivation is being linked to several serious illnesses. Its link to overeating is now being demonstrated by research.
A recent BBC documentary, the Truth About Sleep, enlisted the help of the University of Leeds’s Dr. Eleanor Scott to find the link between increased hunger and reduced sleep.
Dr. Scott enlisted a group of healthy volunteers, fitting them with glucose and activity monitors. Volunteers were asked to go to sleep and rise at their regular times for 2 successive nights. For the next 2 nights, they were asked to go to bed three hours later than usual. For the final 2 nights of the study, the volunteers were told they could sleep for as long as they liked, at whatever time they chose.And the results were illuminating.
Blood sugar spikes
Every volunteer involved in Dr. Scott’s study found that their blood sugar levels spiked on the days following their nights of sleep deprivation. In addition, they were hungrier than normal and craved sugar in large amounts.
But when subjects returned to their normal sleeping patterns, their glucose levels went down.
Dr. Scott’s small, informal study is backed up by more rigorous models. These have routinely found that people who get less than 7 hours sleep each night are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and to become obese.
High levels of blood sugar can lead to intense sugar cravings. When these are caused by lack of sleep, the effect is often due to the increased presence of the stress hormone cortisol.
Higher calorie intake observed
A meta-analysis at King’s College London discovered that people who don’t sleep enough also consume, on average, 400 more calories per day than they would normally. Over time, that higher calorie intake can add up to extra weight and even diabetes.
A lack of sleep causes our system to be flooded by hunger hormones, signalling our brains that we need to eat, and preventing us from feeling sated when we do.
The cumulative findings of research gives us the answer we’re seeking to the question “Can reduced sleep make you hungry?”. The answer appears to be a resounding “yes”.
Sleep apnea can rob you of sleep
Clearly, not getting enough sleep can make you hungrier, leading to overeating, increased weight, diabetes and other health problems. People with sleep apnea suffer from sleep interrupted by breathing cessation, which causes snoring.
Our mouthpiece can help. Learn more about how The Good Morning Snore Solution is proven to stop sleep apnea and restore you to normal sleeping patterns.
Stop sleep apnea from robbing you of the sleep you need.