Will Not Getting Enough Sleep Make Me Gain Weight?

You stifle a yawn and reach for your third cup of coffee. Beside the coffee machine is a box of Timbits and your stomach grumbles. You grab a handful of Timbits and hope the sugar rush and caffeine boost will help you get through the rest of the day. You’d planned to go to yoga after work, but taking a nap on the couch is much more tempting.

We’ve all experienced the effects of exhaustion – drinking too much caffeine, making unhealthy food choices in search of a quick energy boost, and spending more time on the couch. In our on-the-go society, sleep deprivation can be seen as a ‘badge of honour’ to showcase how busy and hardworking you are. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of sleep and its impact on your health. Being chronically sleep deprived effects your body in several ways, such as making it easier to gain weight. If you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle and take control of your weight, getting enough sleep needs to be a high priority.


5 Ways Poor Sleeping Habits Cause Weight Gain

Increases your appetite: Not getting enough sleep can make you feel hungrier than normal. When you’re sleep deprived, it impacts your body’s production of two important hormones that regulate hunger, called leptin and ghrelin 1. Leptin suppresses hunger and tells the brain that you’re full, and ghrelin signals to the brain that you’re hungry. When you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your body makes less leptin and more ghrelin. In result, you feel hungrier throughout the day.


Increases calorie consumption: The increased production of hunger hormones from sleep deprivation can lead to overeating. You might also be more inclined to choose high-calorie fast food or pre-packaged snacks to quickly satisfy your hunger, which can lead to a higher intake of salt, sugar, and fat.


Reduces physical activity: The last thing anyone wants to do when they’re tired is exercise. Even simple tasks like going for a walk can feel exhausting. Not getting enough sleep will make you want to be a couch potato, so if your goal is to increase your physical activity and feel more energized, getting enough sleep is key.


Make fewer healthy food choices: We all experience food cravings, but when you’re sleep deprived, it’s harder to resist snacking on that leftover birthday cake and pizza. Not getting enough sleep dulls activity in the frontal lobe of the brain that related to self-control, and makes the reward centres of your brain more active. In result, it’s harder to stick to your healthy eating plan and ignore the leftover cake in the fridge.


May cause insulin resistance: Studies show that being sleep deprived causes your body’s cells to become insulin resistant 2. Insulin resistance causes more sugar to remain in your bloodstream, which causes your body to produce more insulin. The overproduction of insulin increases hunger and signals your body to store calories as fat.


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Losing weight and taking control of your health isn’t just about restricting calories. It often requires a holistic change, which includes healthier eating patterns, regular exercise, and positive lifestyle changes (such as getting enough sleep).

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1: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00844.x

2: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00660.2005