DOES SLEEP DEPRIVATION CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN BY SOME UNIQUE MECHANISM? MAYBE, BUT THIS STUDY ONLY PROVES THAT WE EAT IF WE ARE AWAKE AND NEAR FOOD.
Here's the Cleve Clinic's summary of recent research on short sleep duration and weight gain. Personally, I would say this is less the sleep deprivation and more the longer exposure to home and kitchen. People have a very hard time controlling their eating when they are at home and near the fridge and pantry.
Study: Going To Bed Late Leads To Greater Calorie Consumption.
NBC News (7/1) reports on its website that research published in the journal Sleep that the less hours your sleep, the more calories you will consume. Researchers from the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania found in a “first-of-its-kind experiment” that “when test subjects went to bed at 4 a.m. and woke four hours later at 8 a.m., they consumed about 550 calories after 11 p.m., far more than their bodies needed.” Moreover, the study found that “more of those 550 calories came from fat, resulting in a weight gain, on average, of about 1 kilo (2.2. pounds) after five consecutive nights of limited sleep.” The study also found that “African-Americans were especially vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation,” as African-American men gained the most weight in the experiment, about 3.7 lbs.
NPR (6/28, Shute) noted in its “Shots” health blog that the equivalent of 553 calories is a Big Mac, also “about one-quarter of the recommended daily caloric intake for an adult.” The study “didn’t measure hormone levels or metabolic changes. But other studies have found that people gain more weight when they eat the same amount of food in the evening rather than in the morning.”
HealthDay (6/28, Thompson) explained “night owls are more likely to gain weight than people who get good sleep because they tend to graze the kitchen for junk food in the wee hours of the morning.” Study author Andrea Spaeth, a doctoral candidate in the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania said about the findings, “People consumed a substantial amount of calories during those late-night hours when they would normally be in bed.” Dr. W. Christopher Winter, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center in Charlottesville, Va., also explained late night food urges are driven by an increase in “ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger cravings, and a decrease in levels of leptin, a hormone that makes people feel full.”