It may be. Recent studies have suggested an association between sleep duration and weight gain. Sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.
In one study, recurrent sleep deprivation in men increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake. In another study, women who slept less than six hours a night or more than nine hours were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kilograms) compared with women who slept seven hours a night. Other studies have found similar patterns in children and adolescents.
One explanation may be that sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin — and stimulates the appetite. Another contributing factor may be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity.
So now you have another reason to get a good night's sleep.
Apr. 14, 2012
- Benedict C, et al. Acute sleep deprivation enhances the brain's response to hedonic food stimuli. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012;97:E443.
- Lyytikainen P, et al. Association of sleep duration with weight and weight gain: A prospective follow-up study. Journal of Sleep Research. 2011;20:298.
- Chaput JP, et al. Short sleep duration is independently associated with overweight and obesity in Quebec children. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2011;102:369.
- Garaulet M, et al. Short sleep duration is associated with increased obesity markers in European adolescents: Effect of physical activity and dietary habits. International Journal of Obesity. 2011;35:1308.
- Hensrud DD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 12, 2012.