Is too little sleep a cause of weight gain?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

It might be.

Research suggests an association between sleep restriction and negative changes in metabolism. In adults, sleeping four hours a night, compared with 10 hours a night, appears to increase hunger and appetite — in particular for calorie-dense foods high in carbohydrates. Observational studies also suggest a link between sleep restriction and obesity. Other studies have found similar patterns in children and adolescents.

One explanation might be that sleep duration affects hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin. Another contributing factor might 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.

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April 02, 2020 See more Expert Answers