A lack of sleep could lead to the exact opposite of weight loss: weight gain. A growing number of studies and experts have made a connection between fatigue and obesity, specifically as it pertains to the exploding obese American population. Not getting enough sleep each night could affect your appetite when you're awake, leading to an overconsumption of food and, therefore, weight gain. Never use a lack of sleep as a method of attempting weight loss; you could end up fatigued and heavier.
A study published in a 2010 issue of "Sleep" found that specifically men who slept less were more prone to weight gain when compared to men who achieved an optimum amount of sleep each night. In fact, the men who slept less than five hours at night were twice as likely become overweight. Another study published in a 2008 issue of "Sleep" found that the link between a lack of sleep and obesity was apparent in children as well as adults. A lack of sleep will not cause weight loss and should never be used as a way to shed pounds.
A number of experts have hypothesized the reason for the sleep and obesity connection. One such expert, Jean-Philippe Chaput of the University of Copenhagen, who published his ideas in a September 2010 issue of "Sleep," noted that the link between fatigue and obesity could be attributed to a simply lack of satiety. It appears that when tired, your mind does not control your appetite as carefully as it would if you were well rested. As a result, you may snack needlessly or overeat without your brain to tell you when to stop.
Obesity isn't the only problem you put yourself at risk for when you sleep less than six hours per night. Depression, fatigue and obesity become a veritable trio of conditions, creating a chicken-and-egg scenario. Each condition begets the next in a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. Trying to control and limit your sleep as a way to lose weight isn't only ineffective, it can also be damaging to both your physical and mental health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night for the best level of health.
Instead of attempting unhealthy tactics to lose weight, stick with what works. Weight loss is a simple question of numbers. By creating a deficit between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned each day, you'll lose weight. This can be done with a variety of commonsense, safe methods. By eating foods that are low in calories yet high in nutrients, exercising at least 30 minutes each day and getting the optimum amount of sleep each night, you can set yourself on a path to better health and a slimmer waistline.
- Sleep: Association of Short Sleep Duration With Weight Gain and Obesity at 1-Year Follow-Up: A Large-Scale Prospective Study
- Sleep: Short Sleep Duration Promoting Overconsumption of Food: A Reward-Driven Eating Behavior?
- Sleep: Meta-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults
- Psychology Today: More on Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain
- National Sleep Foundation: How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?