Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

How Does Poor Sleep Contribute To Overeating?

Posted by Total Access Medical on Sep 28, 2021

Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 11.22.06 AMWe have so many demands on our time—jobs, family, errands—not to mention finding some time to relax. To fit everything in, we often sacrifice sleep. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. When you’re tired, you can’t function at your best. Sleep helps you think more clearly, focus better and it also has a profound impact on hunger. 

Not getting enough rest has a negative impact on your health and physical wellbeing. One outcome of sleep deprivation may be an uptick in the number of calories you consume1. Poor diet qualityand excessive body weight may also stem from lack of sleep.

The relationship between lack of sleep and eating excessively is likely tied to hormonal functions in the body. Getting a good night’s rest promotes a healthy balance of hormones, including those that regulate appetite, digestion, and metabolism.

Sleep Deprivation Leads To Increased Hunger

Sleep deprivation may alter the hormones that control hunger. One small study, for example, found that young men who were deprived of sleep had higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and lower levels of the satiety-inducing hormone leptin, with a corresponding increase in hunger and appetite-especially for foods rich in fat and carbohydrates.

Staying Awake Gives People More Time To Eat

People who sleep less each night may eat more than people who get a full night’s sleep simply because they have more waking time available. Recently a small laboratory study found that people who were deprived of sleep and surrounded by tasty snacks, tended to snack more-especially during the extra hours that were awake at night-than when they had adequate sleep.

Sleep Deprivation Prompts People To Choose Less Healthy Diets 

Observational studies have not shown a consistent link between sleep and food choices. But one study of Japanese workers did find that workers who slept fewer than six hours a night were more likely to eat out, have irregular meal patterns, and snack than those who slept over six hours.

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