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Why your appetite is affected by sleep


At first it may seem counter intuitive but lack of sleep can cause weight gain. You may think that being awake would burn more calories than being asleep but it is not as simple as that. Inadequate sleep leads to changes in hormones which affect a person’s energy and appetite. A number of studies have shown that the less sleep a person gets, the more they will be overweight or obese.

One study showed that even two night’s without sleep can have a dramatic effect in appetite. The sleep deprivation changed the levels of two important, appetite- and energy-regulating hormones, ghrelin, a peptide made by the stomach which helps stimulates appetite and leptin, a hormone that provides vital energy information to the brain. After only two days of sleep deprivation, the research subjects showed a marked reduction in leptin and an increase in ghrelin. The general message to the brain was that the body was low on energy and needed more food. The test subjects appetite increased dramatically and what was worse, they showed a marked preference for calorie rich foods that were high in carbohydrates.

The simple message is that alongside all the other issues associated with lack of sleep, weight gain is a serious concern.

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