Why lack of sleep causes weight gain and retention.

Bathroom Scale & Measuring Tape

Insufficient sleep doesn’t just make you cranky and irritable. According to the CDC, a lack of sleep has been linked to many diseases, diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. In addition, research shows that an inability to sleep well is linked to obesity and weight gain. Here are some things to think about if you’re dealing with a lack of sleep.

Understanding the Connection Between Weight Gain and Lack of Sleep


Good sleep is essential to your health. Children need to get enough sleep for brain development and growth. Adults need to have quality sleep for their well-being. The CDC recommends most adults need 7 or more hours of sleep a night to function effectively. When you’re tired at work, you may try to get energy with coffee and an unhealthy snack, like a donut. Sleep deprivation makes you want comfort foods, which aren’t always the healthiest things to eat. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may not have the drive and energy to exercise. Over time, your body pays a price for your lack of sleep.

Hormone Imbalances

Ghrelin and Leptin


Scientists have also found a lack of sleep causes hormonal and physiological changes that may cause you to put on more pounds. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells you when to eat. Sleep deprivation increases the amount of ghrelin in your body, so you feel like you want to eat more. Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’re full. Leptin production decreases when you don’t get enough sleep. You eat more because your body isn’t telling you that it is full.

Insulin and Cortisol


The National Sleep Foundation reports that with ongoing sleep loss, your body releases less insulin after you eat. This leaves more glucose in the bloodstream. In addition, your body releases more cortisol, a stress hormone, which makes it even harder for the naturally produced insulin to work. Thus, your blood sugar isn’t controlled effectively, which raises your risk of developing diabetes.

Treatment Options


Fortunately, sleep disorders are usually treatable. The first thing to find out is why you aren’t sleeping and deal with the root cause. Sleep apnea is a common reason that many adults don’t get enough sleep. Your breathing is briefly interrupted through the night, which makes you feel unrested. It causes a lack of oxygen, which also leads to disrupted sleep. A lack of oxygen in the blood causes many other symptoms beyond weight gain and obesity. You may have chronic pain, headaches, allergies, daytime fatigue and more.

Learn more about treatment options for a lack of sleep when you contact our office.  


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