A lack of sleep can lead you to eat larger portions of high calorie foods and could put you at risk of weight gain. Swedish researchers asked 16 males to choose their ideal portions of high-calorie meals and snacks. They did this when they had a normal night of about eight hours of sleep and again when they went a night without sleep.
The patients chose bigger portions after the night without sleep and did this both before and after a breakfast. The study suggests that sleep deprivation increases food intake regardless of whether a person feels full.
While you are awake, your body cooks up a perfect recipe for weight gain. When you lose sleep it’s easy to grab a large latte and keep moving. You might even be tempted to skip exercising because you are too tired, get takeout and then turn in late because you’re stuffed.
If this type of night only happened a few times each year, it’s no big deal but the problem is nearly two-thirds of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep during a typical week. Experts agree that getting enough shut-eye is as important to your health as diet and exercise.
Not enough sleep can really impact your hunger and fullness hormones, especially two called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat and when you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. Leptin, on the other hand, cues your stomach when it’s full. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food.
When the two are put together it’s no wonder sleep deprivation leads to overeating and extra pounds. Then there’s the cortisol spike that comes from too little sleep. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel you when you’re awake. So you’re more apt to hang on to fat.
Poor sleep habits can be from eating too close to bedtime, napping during the day or even having a bad mattress and just needing a new adjustable bed. If your sleeping habits are worrisome to you consult a doctor.