Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, though experts aren’t exactly sure why. A recent study found that women who slept 5 hours a night were more likely to gain weight than women who slept 7 hours a night.
Some studies have shown that losing sleep could affect metabolism by making you feel hungry, even if you’re not. Sleep deprivation may affect the secretion of cortisol, one of the hormones that regulates appetite. There’s also a theory that we move around less when we don’t get enough sleep, which means we burn less calories.
Getting enough sleep is crucial if you’re trying to lose weight, not just because of how it affects you physically, but mentally as well. Sleep deprivation makes you cranky, confused and can even make you feel depressed or angry.
Make sleep a priority by trying to get to bed at the same time each night, shooting for about 8 hours, if you can manage it.
If you want to lose weight, experts say you need to get enough sleep. Specifically, researchers have reported that women who sleep 5 hours or less per night generally weigh more than women who sleep 7 hours per night.
Women, Who Sleep Less, Eat Less…and Still Gain
Researchers have looked at exercise habits to determine if they could account, in part, for the findings. But they didn’t discover any differences in exercise levels or physical activity that would explain why the women who slept less weighed more.
“Prior studies have shown that after just a few days of sleep restriction, the hormones that control appetite cause people to become hungrier, women who slept less might eat more,” says lead researcher Sanjay Patel, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH
“But, in fact, they ate less. That suggests that appetite and diet are not accounting for the weight gain in women who sleep less.”
“We don’t have an answer from this study about why reduced sleep causes weight gain, but there are some possibilities that deserve further study,” Patel says. “Sleeping less may affect changes in a person’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories you burn when you rest). Another contributor to weight regulation that has recently been discovered is called non-exercise associated thermo genesis (involuntary activity, such as fidgeting.) It may be that if you sleep less, you move around less, too, and therefore burn up fewer calories.”
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