Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain

written by Meena Azzollini

Young woman lying on sofa at home eating a sweet treat

Credit:123RF

Good sleep is very important for you. In previous studies we have seen how sleep deprivation can affect your health and increase your risk of developing many diseases. A lack of sleep has also been linked to weight gain and now a new study provides important information about this outcome.

A study from researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences found that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, resulting in unhealthy snacking. This behaviour can lead to weight gain.

About 60 per cent of participants reported that they snacked regularly at night and two-thirds reported that a lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food.

In this study, researchers conducted a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3105 adults. Participants were asked if they regularly consumed a snack at night and whether a lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also were asked about the quality of their sleep and existing health problems.

About 60 per cent of participants reported that they snacked regularly at night and two-thirds reported that a lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food. The researchers found that junk food cravings were linked to an increase in the likelihood of night-time snacking — which was associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. They also found that junk food cravings were driven by poor sleep quality, and that these junk food cravings were associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

This study shows how sleep quality and eating patterns work together to promote good health. While eating a healthy diet is considered a key factor in taking care of your health, getting a good night’s sleep regularly is also as important. If you find that you are craving snacks at night, then make sure you are doing everything you can to restore your sleep quality so that your health is not negatively affected.

Source: SLEEP 2018


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Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!