March 14, 2012
Less Sleep Raises Appetite

If you aren't getting enough sleep you may be eating too much as a result.

"We tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity," said Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., study author and professor of medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.. Leptin and ghrelin are associated with appetite.

The researchers studied 17 normal, healthy young men and women for eight nights, with half of the participants sleeping normally and half sleeping only two-thirds their normal time.

Participants ate as much as they wanted during the study.

Researchers found:

  • The sleep deprived group, who slept one hour and 20 minutes less than the control group each day consumed an average 549 additional calories each day.
  • The amount of energy used for activity didn't significantly change between groups, suggesting that those who slept less didn't burn additional calories.
  • Lack of sleep was associated with increased leptin levels and decreasing ghrelin changes that were more likely a consequence, rather than a cause, of over-eating.

"Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night," said Andrew D. Calvin, M.D., M.P.H., co-investigator, cardiology fellow and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

Have you gradually put on too much weight? Do you sleep enough? Try changing your lifestyle so that you can get more sleep.

This isn't new news. Other researchers have found a relationship between less sleep, greater appetite, and more weight gain.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 March 14 10:28 PM  Brain Sleep

Phillep Harding said at March 15, 2012 9:40 AM:

The above is obviously a SPAM message.

Eskimoes had a saying along the lines of "Sleep is food, food is sleep". There are times when we need to remember that.

PacRim Jim said at March 15, 2012 2:07 PM:

More time to eat.

Anonkun said at March 15, 2012 3:20 PM:

Huh, this is news? When I fast I sleep a lot, when I do all-nighters I eat a lot.
You can not eat or you can not sleep, pick one.

Beth Donovan said at March 16, 2012 10:50 AM:

This is not really new. I have sleep apnea, and I gained a lot of weight. Now that I have been diagnosed with apnea, I'm starting to lose weight as I get a full night's sleep - I'm not waking up every 30 minutes or so gasping for air. And I have the kind of apnea that is not caused by being overweight, so even as I lose, I'm going to be stuck with my cpac for life.

bobby b said at March 17, 2012 12:17 AM:

What if you just can't stand the thought of going to bed and wasting the time on sleep that you could be using to eat some of that great, wonderful, tasty, delicious, high-calorie food that's calling you from the kitchen right now? Ummmmm, eclairs!

(This study is too true. When I don't get enough sleep - which is just about always - the body and the mind both drag along all day long, and the only way to get any sort of energetic feeling (sort of like the feeling of energy you have when you're getting enough sleep) is to start sugar-loading and caffeine-swilling. And even then, it doesn't feel like a positive, happy, healthy energy. Plus, you're a blimp. How's that for depressing feedback?)

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