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Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Weight Gain?

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common  sleep disorders where a person is not having enough amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation has a lot of consequences to the overall health of a person. It can affect the brain function and it can cause hormonal imbalances. Sleep deprivation can cause a serious medical condition, such as obesity, diabetes, etc., when not managed early and properly.

Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain:

One of the most common effects of sleep deprivation is weight gain, since weight gain can be greatly associated with sleep deprivation. Depriving oneself from sleep can cause multiple effects on the body, including depression and an increase in appetite, which can all result to weight gain.

Hormonal Changes Related to Sleep Deprivation:

Sleep Deprived Man Consuming 2 cups of Coffee

Several studies and researches show that when a person lacks 4 hours of sleep for 2 consecutive nights, there will be a decrease of a certain protein that regulates and controls one’s appetite, known as “leptin”, and an increase of ghrelin levels. Having lower levels of leptin can increase a person’s appetite, which results in weight gain. However, aside from the protein leptin, a person’s appetite may also be affected by the brain’s reaction to hunger and sleepiness. People who lack sleep tends to consume more than the required caloric-consumption in a given day. Just think about it, when a person feels sleepy, he then grabs a cup of coffee or even a bag of chips as an extra source of energy. Some people find eating as the only way to battle sleepiness. When sleep deprivation occurs almost every day, then it can really result to weight gain or worse, obesity.

Sleep deprivation has also an effect to the body’s way of metabolizing carbohydrates and glucose. There will be a poor metabolism of glucose and carbohydrates in people who are sleep deprived, which is caused by an impaired insulin signaling. Impaired insulin signaling in turn can cause hunger, which makes a person consume more calories.

Sleep Deprivation Management:

There are several ways in managing sleep deprivation and prevent weight gain from happening.

  1. Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, including coffee, sodas, and tea, past 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Consuming caffeine in the afternoon can keep you wide awake at night and prevent other types of sleep disorders, including insomnia.
  2. Have a regular exercise. Exercise can help in improving the quality of sleep. However, exercising just right before going to bed can keep a person wide awake.
  3. Avoid eating a big meal close to bedtime. Just have a light meal and a few healthy snacks at night.