lack of sleepToo little sleep is more likely to make feel people hungrier than normal. This could in turn lead to overeating and weight gain. Findings of a research study concluded recently and published in the journal SLEEP reveal that there are biological reasons for such outcome of too little sleep.

The researchers were at big surprise to find that the lack of sleep triggers hormonal changes, but the hormones affected are different for men and women. The researchers said they expected sleep deprivation to affect glucose or insulin levels in both sexes.

Thirty normal-weight men and women in their mid-30s participated in two inpatient stays at an obesity research center in New York City. Each stay was six days long and involved five overnight sleeps.

Participants slept four hours a night during one stay and seven hours a night in the other, with a three-week break in between. Daytime napping wasn’t allowed. During both stays, subjects ate a calorie-controlled diet for the first four days and had unlimited access to food on the fifth and sixth days. Blood samples were analyzed daily for seven hormones that influence appetite and food intake: glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin, total glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY3-36.

Abbreviated sleep had no effect in either sex on glucose, insulin, leptin, adiponectin and peptide YY3-36, compared with hormone measures after normal sleep, results showed. But levels of ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, were elevated only in the men after the short periods of sleep.

Meanwhile, levels of GLP-1, an appetitesuppressing hormone, were lower in women after the short periods of sleep but were unchanged in men. All participants consumed about 300 more calories on the fifth day after shortened sleep than after long sleep. The study suggests that lack of sleep may result in enhanced appetite in men. But in women, sleeping too little results in feeling less full.

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Filed under: Clinical ResearchDiabetesObesitySleepSleep ApneaSleep DeprivationSleep DisordersSleep Problems

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