Four reasons why insufficient sleep can contribute to weight gain

While most people recognize the importance of sleep, many are unaware of its significant impact on weight management.

4 Ways in Which Lack of Sleep Can Make You Fat
4 Ways in Which Lack of Sleep Can Make You Fat

While the importance of sleep is widely acknowledged, what many people overlook is its significant role in weight loss. Increasing evidence from research suggests that sufficient and quality sleep is crucial for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

4 Ways in Which Lack of Sleep Can Make You Fat

According to David Katz, MD, the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, sleep plays a vital role in various aspects of health, with particular importance in weight management. He elaborated, stating, “We often perceive sleep as mere downtime, but it’s more akin to a spa treatment, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation all combined into one.”

Your appetite seems to be disrupted

A recent study published in ‘The American Journal of Human Biology’ reveals that sleeping less than 6 hours per night affects appetite regulation. Researchers discovered that insufficient sleep alters the secretion of hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, as observed through brain imaging of participants. This disruption leads to increased feelings of hunger and overeating, subsequently elevating the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

You have an inclination towards sugary foods

According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, insufficient sleep can increase the desire for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Participants who slept only 4 hours were significantly more responsive to food stimuli, such as the sight and smell of tempting foods like pastries and bacon, compared to when they slept for 9 hours. Another study, published in Scientific Reports, provides further insight, indicating that not only do individuals consume more food after sleep deprivation, but they also consume more fat.

Consistently reducing sleep by 30 minutes can lead to weight gain

It’s common for many of us to postpone our bedtime by 30 minutes or even an hour, especially when we’re engrossed in watching a television show. However, a recent study conducted by the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar highlights the potential consequences of even minor sleep deprivation. Losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day over the course of a year can result in a 72 percent increase in the risk of obesity and a 39 percent increase in the risk of developing insulin resistance.

A brief power nap of just 30 minutes can counteract the adverse effects of inadequate sleep

If you don’t achieve the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep, consider taking a 30-minute power nap. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that these short naps can counteract the hormonal effects of inadequate sleep. Additionally, they may help reduce appetite, alleviate stress, and strengthen the immune system.