The connection between sleep and weight gain
It’s generally recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re not getting this amount of sleep regularly, you could be at risk of weight gain and obesity. When we don’t get adequate sleep, our hormones become out of balance. This includes our appetite hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is the hormone that signals hunger in the brain, while leptin signals fullness in the brain, suppressing hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body responds to this ‘stress’ by producing less leptin and more ghrelin. When this happens, we may have the urge to eat more food, thus exceeding our calorie allowance.
So, not getting enough sleep may make us eat more, but that’s not the full picture. You may also find it more difficult to pass on the less nutritious food and develop cravings for high-calorie foods. This is because lack of sleep raises the levels of endocannabinoids, the chemical signals linked to appetite.