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How does sleep affect your weight?

How does sleep affect your weight?

It’s quite common knowledge that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on our bodies. But did you know that weight gain may be a direct result of poor sleeping habits? Many studies state that sleep and weight are closely related, and if you want to know how, we’ve explained the basics.


A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to gain excess weight overtime. A specific study looked at 70,000 women for 16 years and concluded that those who slept for less than 7 hours/night were 32% more likely to gain weight than those who had over 7 hours of sleep most nights. 


So what exactly is the science behind this? Basically, an insufficient amount of sleep causes our hormones to fluctuate into different patterns. Sleep deprivation causes more production of hormones like ghrelin, which is also known as the “hunger hormone”. Gherlin regulates our appetite, food intake, and fat storage. To add on, less sleep leads to poor leptin production. Leptin is a hormone that triggers the hypothalamus to decrease appetite. To make it worse, when people gain weight, bodies become less sensitive to this hormone. Lack of sleep and the added weight gain that comes with it are generally not a good combo for our overall health. 


Sleeping less also means you are likely to be tired throughout the day and have decreased motivation. This lack of motivation then has an effect on your willingness to move around and exercise. Ultimately, these feelings can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and stress, which can then lead to emotional eating and overindulgence. 


It might be hard to notice the direct effects that poor sleep has on our weight, but research shows that these effects are anything but trivial. Our appetite suppressing hormones don’t just go back to “normal” patterns, they continue to become less sensitive as we gain more weight. 


With all this info in mind, it might be a good idea to think about the amount of and quality of sleep you are getting every night. If you notice those unwanted extra pounds, it’s better to become aware of the situation, find out the root cause(s), and find a healthy solution. It could be as easy as getting an extra hour of sleep!


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References

  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/health-impact/good-nights-sleep-can-help-you-maintain-healthy-weight
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#Respiratory-system
  3. https://www.sleephealthsolutionsohio.com/blog/10-effects-of-long-term-sleep-deprivation/
  4. https://www.sleep.org/articles/how-long-you-sleep-impacts-weight/