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Sleep Your Weight Away?

Sleep As a Weight Control StrategyEmerging research suggests that sleep habits affect body weight control by influencing caloric intake and energy expenditure.

In fact, experts say new epidemiological studies point to a relationship between how long we sleep and the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Recently, European researchers investigated the effect of short-term sleep deprivation on hunger as well as on physical activity and energy used by the body.

In the studies, investigators used state-of-the-art technology to measure physical activity and energy consumption. Physical activity was assessed by special devices worn on the wrist that detect acceleration. Energy used by the body was determined by indirect calorimetry, a method which estimates how much heat is produced by a person as they use oxygen.

Researchers discovered sleep deprivation increased how hungry participants felt and also raised the amount of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin detected in their blood.

In fact, the shorter the amount of sleep a person had experienced, the hungrier they were. After just one night of disrupted sleep, volunteers moved around less, although this was not surprising considering they also felt more tired.

Investigators also discovered that staying awake for one complete night reduced the amount of energy used by the body when resting.

This suggests that when we are sleep-deprived we are likely to eat more calories because we are hungrier. This alone might cause us to gain weight over time.

However, sleep loss also means we burn off fewer calories, which adds to the risk of gaining weight.

Researchers say current studies are investigating if increasing sleep time might help with weight control efforts.

Although much is still to be learned about the correct sleep dose for obesity and diabetes, the available research results clearly supports the notion that sleep is involved in the balance between the amount of calories we eat and the amount we use up through activity and metabolism.

Source: Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

Sleep Your Weight Away?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Sleep Your Weight Away?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.