Shorter sleep duration is also linked to higher body mass index (BMI) and the expression of obesity-related genes. Our infographic explains some of the factors that turn sleep loss into weight gain.
When you’re sleep deprived:
Your hunger hormones kick in
Two major hormones in your body control your appetite and hunger. One is called leptin, or the “appetite suppressor.” It’s a hormone made by your fat cells to signal to your brain that you have plenty of energy.
When leptin levels are high, your body knows that it isn’t starving and doesn’t need to eat more. Shorter sleep duration has been found to lead to low leptin levels, and consequently the body increases its energy intake by eating more food.
The other hormone is called ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, and also plays a role in body weight. Like leptin, sleep loss affects your grehlin levels too.
She found that certain neurons that increase feeding are active during waking hours and inactive during sleep. In animal models, sleep deprivation increases these neurons’ activity.
Not only does sleep deprivation mean more time to eat, but it may possibly cause increased desire to eat.
You’re more tired
Persistent sleep debt from chronic sleep deprivation causes daytime fatigue , which in turn promotes obesity by discouraging exercise and other calorie-burning activities. Combined with the increased calorie intake your body may crave as a result of sleep deprivation, this is a recipe for weight gain.