Lack of Sleep = Weight Gain

sleep garfield

Did you get 8 hours of sleep last night?

According to some new research, sleep restriction results in:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased food cravings
  • Decreased food consumption, and
  • Increased bodyweight


Sleep less…Eat Less…Weigh more???

The Science

The study involved 92 healthy individuals (52 male) between the ages of 22 and 45 years who participated in laboratory controlled sleep restriction. Subjects underwent two nights of baseline sleep (10 hours in bed per night), five nights of sleep restriction and varying recovery for four nights. Nine well rested participants served as controls. Food consumption was ad libitum (subjects had three regular meals per day and access to healthy snacks, and during nights of sleep restriction subjects were given a small sandwich at one a.m.).

Results indicate that people whose sleep was restricted experienced an average weight gain of 1.31 kilograms (2.9 lbs) over the 11 days of the study.


I am sorry to say that there are no conclusions. The researchers have no idea what happened.

The researchers had hoped to see a link between sleep deprivation and an increased craving for carbs.

When that didn’t happen, they had to scramble. here’s what they came up with:

  • Lack of sleep may result in less activity (not measured), and
  • “the ability to snack for longer due to reduction in time spent asleep might have influenced the weight gain”. (and yet their measurement showed a reduction in caloric consumption)

My Conclusion/Assumption

I think that if the researchers had done some blood tests pre and post experiment, they would have seen some interesting changes.

Anyone who suffers from insomnia knows that lack of sleep has a huge impact upon both your physical and mental state of health.

I would have been curious to see the changes in levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc along with insulin and various other obesity related hormones/brain chemicals.

Maybe next time.


This research was presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies


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  1. I find that my impulse control goes down when I’m sleep deprived, I tend to snack when exposed to food cues even though I’m not really feeling hunger. However that’s not neccessarily an explanation, I would think that effect would show up as “increased appetite” if it were significant in the study.

  2. I’d be interested in seeing changes in cortisol levels as well. Cortisol tends to get lumped as a “bad hormone” in our community, which isn’t really accurate, but elevated cortisol levels are certainly bad, and associated with both times of stress and weight gain.

  3. I can attest to this completely. Due to my work schedule (10p-6a) and home life, I basically do not sleep Mon-Fri ( 1-2 naps per day ranging from 1-3 hrs long). I workout-hard- at least 3x a week and eat right, but still can’t shake those last few unwanted percentage points of fat. And I KNOW it’s due to the lack of sleep.

  4. Interesting. I run the treadmill on 8-9 for over an hour almost everyday. The calorie counter (which I’m not sure is of accuracy) usually says about 700-800. Then lift weights and work abs. I can’t seem to lose weight though. I weight 124-127 pounds now. I was 116-119. I really want to go back, but i think I’m trying too hard. Also, I tend to gain weight when I fall into these bulimic cycles. So i tossed my scale and I feel like I do a lot better, but i still can’t get a flat stomach and it bugs me when i look in the mirror. I also feel that i restrict my diet too much.

    I’m really in a whirlwind right now so I’m trying to find a solution. The best one i can think of is to NOT THINK ABOUT IT at all, and to not care so much.

    1:I think I’m going to try to do the 6 meals.
    2:work out (already do)
    3:make a bed time no later than 9:30/10
    4: augh… put a stop to this bulimia habit

    just over all organize my body.
    wish me luck =/

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