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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 vicious cycle of sleep deprivation. Many shrug off lack of sleep and say they will only become irritable. 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 are deprived of sleep, researchers have found that the production of ghrelin and leptin are affected, and not in a good way! Researchers concluded that a sleep deficit leads to elevated levels of ghrelin in your system. So, when you are not getting enough sleep, your body actually responds by telling you that you are hungrier.

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: usatoday.com, 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.

Sleeping is a better option also because we burn 60-65% of all calories while we are getting shut eye. Since the smaller majority of calories are burned while awake we should get to bed. Note: There are exceptions to this rule.

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 quality 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!


Peter Kilpton writes exclusively for Regarding Sleep, visit there today for the latest Sleep advice, and while you're there sign up for the free newsletter. If you want to read more Sleep articles go to: http://www.resleep.com/articles
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