Is Your Lack Of Sleep Making You Fat?

Tired of trying every new crash-diet in town? Frustrated because the latest exercise fads did absolutely nothing to burn body fat? There is a possibility that even though you are doing everything else right, you’re making one major mistake- not getting enough sleep!


According to a group of researchers at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Centre at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, although sleep-deprived people seem to burn the same amount of calories as the ones who are well rested, they consume around 300 calories more every day. These calories over time can easily turn into extra weight and body mass that will later become difficult to get rid of.

According to Mr. J. Catesby Ware, there is a connection between sleep and obesity. His colleagues and he have studied a large number of men and women and came to the conclusion that those who reported sleeping less weighed a lot more than their well-rested counterparts.

“We hypothesized that sleep deprivation’s impact on hunger and decision- making would make for the ‘perfect storm’ with regard to shopping and food purchasing-leaving individuals hungrier and less capable of employing self-control and higher-level decision-making processes to avoid making impulsive, calorie-driven purchases,” said Mr. Colin Chapman, lead author from Uppsala University, Sweden (Daily Mail, 2013)

Another study published in the journal, Obesity, examined some men who were of normal weight after a night of total sleep deprivation. They were asked to spend and buy food items after giving each of them a fixed amount of money. The food items had equal number of high as well as low-calorie options. The study was also carried out again after the group had a good night’s sleep and was well rested.

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Prior to the experiment, everyone was provided with breakfast in order to reduce the effects of hunger on what they choose to buy. Despite the fact that the men were well fed, they bought food items with much more calories when they were sleep deprived than when they were well rested.

Other studies show that patients who are concerned with calorie intake and gaining weight try and maintain a healthy, normal sleep schedule

In short, sleep deprivation can be very harmful for your health. Here are a few reasons why –

Carb cravings

Chances of you reaching out for comfort foods like several cups of coffee, a bag of chips or chocolate filled doughnuts increases considerably if you’re not well rested.

Reduces metabolism

If you do not sleep soundly and refuse your body good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly and will be slower which will further aid weight gain

The author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division explains why weight gain is caused due to lack of sleep and is related to two hormones – Leptin and Ghrelin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.

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Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. Which means why more ghrelin and less leptin lead to weight gain.

All these prove how important a role sleep plays in our lives. Further, a number of studies concluded that people who sleep for five hours or less are more at risk of acquiring weight-related diseases like type-2 diabetes.


According to experts most people need anywhere between seven to eight hours of sleep every night in order to not be at risk for weight gain.

So if you’ve been trying to lose weight and are currently seeing no results, make sure you get good sleep every day, keep a check on your snacking after a sleepless night. Avoid opting for unhealthy sweet and salty food items. Stick to your regular meals and exercise well. All this will not only ensure you stay healthy but will also help you sleep better and ensure your wellness.

So go ahead and catch up with your sleep. Your body will thank you for it later.


by Archana Chettiar