Sleep - A Good Way to Manage Your Appetite and Weight?

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April 27, 2010

Sleep - A Good Way to Manage Your Appetite and Weight?

Did you know that losing sleep may increase your appetite and as a result your weight? Several studies have been published in recent years have looked at the relationship between sleep loss, weight and appetite and should serve as a guide for how we value sleep. According to one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this year, one night of reduced sleep subsequently increased food intake and, to a lesser extent, estimated physical activity-related energy expenditure in healthy men. These experimental results, if confirmed by long-term energy balance measurements, suggest that sleep restriction could be a factor that promotes obesity. The study observed two groups of men - half of which slept for 8 hours, while the other half got 4 hours of sleep, and found that the men who got less sleep consumed 22 percent more calories than those who slept for 8 hours. A University of Chicago study last year also arrived at similar conclusions when they included women in the study. Such sleep restriction may have been a bit extreme, but it is also not altogether uncommon in our society and is a pattern deemed the "royal route to obesity" by Eve Van Cauter, PhD, who conducted the Chicago study. Some researchers have found that hormone function is to be blamed for how short sleep duration affects our appetite and weight. Another study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that feelings of hunger as well as plasma ghrelin levels are already elevated after one night of sleep deprivation, whereas morning serum leptin concentrations remain unaffected. The researchers explained that their results provide further evidence for a disturbing influence of sleep loss on endocrine regulation of energy homeostasis, which on the long run may result in weight gain and obesity . Image photographer: Daniel St.Pierre