Advertisement

How can lack of sleep affect my appetite?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
If you don't get enough sleep to keep your body's engine humming, you'll start to throw your appetite hormones out of whack. Sleep is not a luxury.

The two digestive hormones that control your feelings of hunger and appetite are ghrelin and leptin. As with many hormones, these two are paired together but have opposing functions. One says "Go" and the other says "Stop." Ghrelin (your "Go" hormone) gets secreted by the stomach when it's empty and increases your appetite. It sends a message to your brain that you need to eat. When your stomach is full, fat cells usher out leptin (your "Stop" hormone) so your brain gets the message that you are full and need to stop eating. A bad night's sleep -- or just not enough sleep -- creates an imbalance of both ghrelin and leptin.

Studies now prove that when people are allowed just four hours of sleep a night for two nights, they experience a 20 percent drop in leptin and an increase in ghrelin. They also have a marked increase (about 24 percent) in hunger and appetite. And what do they gravitate toward? Calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods like sweets, salty snacks, and starchy foods. Sleep loss essentially disconnects your brain from your stomach, leading to mindless eating. It deceives your body into believing it's hungry (when it's not), and it also tricks you into craving foods that can sabotage a healthy diet.
Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

More About this Book

Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

       From celebrated dietitian Ashley Koff and fitness trainer to the stars Kathy Kaehler comes Mom Energy, an exciting new way for moms to tap into their own natural and renewable sources of...

Continue Learning about Sleep Basics

What Can I Do to Avoid Waking Up at Night After Falling Asleep?
What Can I Do to Avoid Waking Up at Night After Falling Asleep?
Is Skimping on Sleep Okay?
Is Skimping on Sleep Okay?
How Can a Food Curfew Help Me Get a Good Night's Sleep?
How Can a Food Curfew Help Me Get a Good Night's Sleep?
Can My Diet Affect My Sleep?
Can My Diet Affect My Sleep?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.