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Less Sleep Can Equal More Weight Gain

By Peter Kilpton

Lack of sleep has become a global problem in the past decade. Everywhere around the world people are sleeping less. This trend has increased in the recent years starting a viscious cycle of sleep deprivation. Many shrug off lack of sleep and say they will only become irratible. Lack of sleep can also play a role in weight gain.

The balance of your hormones affects your weight. The most prevalent hormones that affect weight are two that stimulate and control your appetite. The Ghrelin hormone is pumping through your body when you feel hungry. The leptin hormone tells you that you are full and don't require additional food.

When you don't sleep enough your ghrelin and leptin hormones are out of balance. They don't function properly. Lack of sleep causes the levels of the ghrelin hormone to increase in your system. This causes you to feel hungry to a much greater extent.

Plus, when you do eat it will take you longer to feel full and satisfied. This is due to the fact that the amount of leptin hormone in your system has decreased. This wreaks havoc on your waistline as you eat more and more to feel full.

If the production of ghrelin and leptin aren't convincing, then consider this: there is a correlation between obesity and sleep deprivation according to researchers at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin. According to polls, 63% of Americans declare that they are not getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night. Amazingly, 65% of Americans are considered overweight or obese (Source:, 12/06/2004). Coincidence? Perhaps.

One would surmise that when you are awake you burn more calories. While it is true that an increased level of physical activity will burn more calories, staying up longer won't necessarily burn more calories. The reason is that when you stay up longer you tend to grab the nearest bag of pretzels, chips, and cookies to satisfy your undending hungry. More calories in means more pounds on your waistline. So you are better off sleeping.

Also take into account that we burn 2/3 of all calories while we are resting. Therefore, only 1/3 of our calories are burned during physical activity and exercise. So just because you are awake doesn't necessarily mean you are burning more calories. It depends on each person and their activity levels.

Do you think the majority of Americans would agree that weight gain is a result of lack of sleep? Probably not. They need to look at the obesity and lack of sleep link and may make the connection. Getting quailty sleep on a daily basis should be at the top of your to-do list. Be wary of making this a New Year's resolution because you most likely will not get much sleep on New Year's Eve. If you are diligently following your diet and your belt still won't budge then focus on your sleep habits. More sleep will help you feel rejuvenated and lighter!

It is very possible that the reason why so many of us fail with our New Year's Resolutions to lose weight is because we continue to not get enough sleep night after night. If you are having trouble seeing results from your diet, ask yourself if you are getting enough sleep and find a way to get more. You will not only feel more refreshed, you may also feel slimmer in the process!

About The Author

Peter Kilpton is the chief writer at Regarding Sleep, there's a wealth of knowledge on the website, plus their free newsletter is well worth signing up for too. Read many more interesting articles on Sleep at:


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