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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


4 Ways Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Weight Gain

Mark Neumann

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Due to the importance of sleep in daily life, sleep deprivation can lead to a myriad of health issues, both mental and physical. Many people do not realize, however, that it can also contribute to weight issues. The following are just some of the ways that not getting enough quality sleep can lead to weight gain.

Increases Impulsivity

If you are trying to eat healthy or lose weight, impulsive decisions are often one of the main things that prevents you from succeeding. Controlling your weight is all about warding off impulses. Sleep deprivation increases impulsivity. If you are running on little sleep, it is more difficult for your brain to function. Without the ability to perform higher-level thinking, you are more likely to make an inadvisable decision, such as eating excessively or skipping a workout. Studies have found that men are more likely to eat food with higher calorie counts when they are sleep-deprived.

Slows Your Metabolism

Increased impulsivity is even more dangerous when combined with metabolism issues. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to a slower metabolism, making it more difficult for your body to burn calories. This can lead to weight gain.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Sleep Is an Important Factor in Weight Loss

Increase Your Desire to Eat

On top of increased impulsivity and a slower metabolism, running on little sleep increases your desire to eat. Sleep deprivation may cause your levels of endocannabinoids, compounds in your brain connected with appetite, to be higher than if you had enough sleep. This will strengthen your drive to eat, which will most likely lead to weight gain, especially when paired with the above issues.

Additionally, your increased desire to eat may encourage you to snack more, to stay full between meals. Snacks are often extremely unhealthy and, if consumed in large amounts, can cause weight gain.

You may also find yourself eating more carbohydrates if you are sleep-deprived. Carbohydrates are in many unhealthy foods, and people eat them in large amounts because many carbs are not very filling. Unfortunately, eating meals based in carbohydrates can cause even more difficulties with sleep deprivation, allowing the harmful cycle to continue.

Less Exercise

The most blatant consequence of not getting enough sleep is feeling exhausted. If you feel completely worn out, you are significantly more likely to skip your workout because you will not feel like you have enough energy to work out. If you skip workouts frequently enough, it will contribute to weight issues, and you may find yourself gaining weight. 

If weight loss is your goal, not getting enough sleep can be counterproductive to that end. It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep to ensure your body is working with you, not against you.

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If you’re ready to shed that stubborn belly fat for good, click or call the office at 734-847-4700 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Neumann to find out if you’re an appropriate candidate for an HCG program.