French scientists have conducted an international study in seven countries and found, that lack of sleep undoubtedly leads to excess weight. This is explained by the activity of two hormones: Ghrelin responsible for hunger and Leptin reducing appetite. If one sleeps only 4 hours a day during two days running, the secretion of Ghrelin increases y 28%, while Leptin levels reduce by 18%.
Japanese Study. Sleep Deprivation and Children
Another Japanese research also devoted to the effect of sleep deprivation on weight problems have found interesting facts. Children sleeping 8 to 9 hours at night are almost twice as likely to be overweight, as their peers having enough good nightly sleep (9 to 10 hours). Sleeping less than 8 hours a night is absolutely not enough for 6- and 7-year old children, as such children are almost 3 times more likely to develop weight problems, as their enough sleeping peers.
Sleep Deprivation Affect Behavior
The duration of sleep influences our behavior. When one suffering from sleep deprivation feels tired after a hard day, they often turn to some food. And the food we normally eat, when we are in a hurry, is something, which doesn’t need to be prepared for a long time – sweets and snacks, which are refined carbodyhrates with low nutrient density. This gives the body more energy for a short period of time, but at the same time you gain calories your body doesn’t need. As the calories are not needed, the body decides to store them as body fat.
Cortisol, Insulin, Shortage of Sleep and Excess Weight
Apart from the two hormones mentioned above, Ghrelin and Leptin, there are two more hormones, Colrisol and Insulin, which are influenced by our sleep behavior. Cortisol regulates metabolism of fats, sugar, minerals, proteins and water in the body. It rises, when one is stressed. The same happens to one deprived of sleep: cortisol levels rise several times a day.
Sleep deprivation also influences insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone controlling blood sugar, promoting fat storage, it informs the body cells, that the body is fed enough. High levels of insulin make it more complicated to get rid of weight problems.
Sleep Norms and Sleep Statistics in the USA
It’s recommended to sleep at least 8 hours a day for adults (ideally other 8 hours should be spent on work, the rest 8 hours are for the rest). An average American sleeps less than 7 hours a night during the workweek. A third of American adults sleep no more than 6,5 hours nightly.
Shortage of Sleep and Physical Exercises
When people are deprived of sleep, they become very tired and cannot exercise – they just have no strength more. And if they still try to burn some calories, the same exercises can be made much slower, less effective and intensely, than usually, when they were rested. As you see, shortage of sleep makes you consume more unneeded calories and makes it impossible to burn fat. So, think about your health and figure – turn off the computer and go to bed.