Increased levels of a hunger hormone from 14 Ways Lack of Sleep is Causing Weight Gain
14 Ways Lack of Sleep is Causing Weight Gain
Increased levels of a hunger hormone
Research has shown the connection between short sleep duration and elevated levels of ghrelin, which is commonly known as the “hunger hormone.” Levels of ghrelin are high and you have bigger appetite, Malkoff-Cohen says. That’s why increased Body Mass Index (BMI) has been observed in people who didn’t sleep enough, she adds. How much is enough varies with every person but experts say a good night’s sleep lasts between seven and eight hours.
Eat about 300 more calories a day
Research has shown that sleep-deprived participants burn the same number of calories as those who are well-rested, but sleepy people eat about 300 more calories a day. Considering that takes only 3,500 calories to add a pound to your waistline, it’s not a surprise you can gain a lot of weight in a short period of time.
This is pretty clear – you sleep less, you feel more tired and you don’t work out, Malkoff-Cohen says. The more sleep-deprived you are, the more lethargic you feel, and the less you will exercise. Going back to a sedentary lifestyle will inevitably result in weight gain, especially if you’re eating more. Studies have shown clear evidence that low levels of physical activity are associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity.
Eat more carbs
Failing to sleep enough hours can lead to eating more, but research has also shown that tired people tend to reach for foods that are high on bad carbs. “You are just looking for something to feel better,” Malkoff-Cohen says. There is a higher carbohydrate content (65 percent), especially if you’re eating after 7 p.m. The bad news is that carbohydrate-based meals result in a significant shortening of sleep onset latency in healthy sleepers, continuing the cycle.
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Little sleep also plays havoc with fat cells
If you’re on little sleep, the fat cells’ ability to react properly to insulin (the hormone that regulates energy storage) decreases by 30 percent. Such chronic disruption could cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other health problems, according to a study. In storage mode, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the circulation where they can damage other tissues. When fat cells cannot respond effectively to insulin, lipids leak out into circulating blood, leading to serious complications, according to researchers.
Hypothalamus is activated
The hypothalamus is an area of the brain responsible for producing much of the body’s hormones, including those regulating sleep and hunger. Orexin, a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite, is produced, telling the body it’s not full yet and causing you to eat beyond satiety.
Less leptin, more food consumption
When you’re tired because of sleep deprivation, the levels of leptin — which suppresses appetite and stimulates energy expenditure — are altered, Malkoff-Cohen says. Lower levels mean bigger appetite. The regulation of leptin, released by the fat cells, is dependent on sleep duration, according to MedScape.
Chronic sleep loss can reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions such as processing and storing carbohydrates or regulating hormone secretion, according to a study. "We found that the metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging," said Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study.
Junk food cravings
Sleepless nights have a direct impact on areas of the brain that regulate decision making processes, making us crave French fries as opposed to Greek yogurt and strawberries. “What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified,” says Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience and senior author of the study.
Higher levels or stress hormone increase appetite
You eat less fruits and vegetables
Food choices are significantly associated with sleep duration, research shows. Short sleepers tend to drink less water and eat fewer fruits and vegetables than people who have normal and consistent sleep patterns. Sleep-deprived people eat fewer foods that are high in important vitamins and minerals.