June 09, 2009
Less Sleep Puts On Weight In Short Term Study

In a short term study sleep restriction put on the pounds.

WESTCHESTER, Ill. According to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday, June 8 at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, in the presence of free access to food, sleep restricted subjects reported decrease in appetite, food cravings and food consumption; however, they gained weight over the course of the study. Thus, the finding suggests that energy intake exceeded energy expenditure during the sleep restriction

Results indicate that people whose sleep was restricted experienced an average weight gain of 1.31 kilograms over the 11 days of the study. Of the subjects with restricted sleep who reported a change in their appetite and food consumption, more than 70 percent said that it decreased by day 5 of the study. A group of well rested control subjects did not experience the weight gain.

According to lead investigator Siobhan Banks, PhD, a research fellow at the University of South Australia and former assistant research professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, it was surprising that participants did not crave foods rich in carbohydrates after sleep restriction, as previous research suggested they might. Results indicate that even though physiologically the desire to eat was not increased by sleep loss in participants, other factors such as the sedentary environment of the laboratory and the ability to snack for longer due to reduction in time spent asleep might have influenced the weight gain.

This result is consistent with other research which finds a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. This relationship might be due to the simple result that if you are awake more hours you have more time to think about food and eat. However, the lack of sleep could be boosting appetite by increasing levels of the hormone ghrelin while lowering the hormone leptin.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 June 09 04:18 AM  Brain Appetite

Gordie said at June 9, 2009 2:21 PM:

It's not just thinking about food, it's eating for the energy burst.

Keva Silversmith said at June 9, 2009 5:09 PM:

Result might also be due to lethargy from little sleep making you less physically active and therefore burning fewer calories.

carol said at June 9, 2009 7:59 PM:

Since working a rotating shift again after many years of days, (nights to days to nights to days, etc), I gained 10 lbs in 7 months. I couldn't tell when I was hungry or full, and started eating lots of junk. My brother told me it was because of cortisol, from stress from not sleeping regularly. If I had to ask myself if I was hungry I wasn't. Since I couldn't rely on my appetite, I went back to counting calories. I've lost 4 lbs in 3 1/2 weeks already.

Craig - Internet marketing guy said at June 9, 2009 8:50 PM:

I'm going to go to bed right now!

or waddle.

James W. said at June 12, 2009 6:17 PM:

I average about 4 hours of sleep a night because of nocturia. About every two weeks I sleep in and get 7 hours. When I got to 208 pounds (6' 3") I eliminated desserts and am now down to about 199-200 which is at the upper end of the governments Body Mass Index calculations. So I've gone to dessert every other meal and the weight seems to be holding.

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