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How does lack of sleep contribute to weight gain?

Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

This is very interesting stuff!  Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain in a number of ways. If you are not sleeping, chances are that you are consuming more calories, and this would make sense for weight gain. But in addition to this, sleep deprivation alters hormones in the body that help us make healthy food choices. Sleep deprivation also increases the chances of heart disease and diabetes by increasing insulin resistance, the method on how your body regulates blood sugar levels. Research studies have shown that even one night of total sleep deprivation can have significantly negative results...so make sure you get plenty of rest.

Lack of sleep can cause a dramatic rise in the body’s production of a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is part of the “fight or flight” response in our bodies. In high levels, cortisol will cause the body to break down muscle tissue and store more blood sugar and fat in the body. Lack of sleep also depresses levels of testosterone, growth hormone, and catecholamines hormones, which help speed up and regulate metabolism. This is why chronic sleep deprivation can help contribute to weight gain. 

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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.