A few hours more in bed each day could help you lose weight. Research shows that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. The loss of sleep does not need to be dramatic. People who miss only an hour or two a night can experience the problem.

Study Confirmed Connection

Health experts have linked inadequate sleep to many health problems like increased cardiovascular risks and a higher risk of developing diabetes or certain cancers. Most doctors also linked weight gain and obesity with sleep deprivation. The research proved the connection existed and that it could happen in as little as two weeks.

Dieters who cut back on sleep for the study experienced more hunger, less satisfaction from their meals, and lost less fat than they did when getting adequate sleep. The results occurred despite keeping their caloric intake the same. The change was dramatic; the dieters’ fat loss decreased 55 percent from what they were accomplishing beforehand.

Deprivation Effects Explained

The slowed fat loss occurred because of a spike in the stress hormone cortisol, which causes the body to conserve energy when needed. The tired participants in the study had increased cortisol levels that slowed their metabolism, so they burnt less fat despite their efforts. Additionally, sleep deprivation lowers the ability to process insulin. The body needs insulin to change food into energy, or it will store it as fat. Complications processing insulin can occur in as little as four days.

Problems can Increase

Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Long-term sleep deprivation can also cause behaviors that lead to weight gain. People lose impulse control when overtired and can make bad choices in what they eat or how much they eat or drink. Tiredness can cause people to want more comfort or rewards, leading to unhealthy food choices. If too tired to cook meals, people often turn to fast food with low nutrition and excessive calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.

More hours of quality sleep can improve mental and physical health and make everyday tasks a little easier to manage. A rested brain works more efficiently, so it is possible that staying up late to accomplish more could backfire. People who struggle with insomnia should develop healthier bedtime routines and speak to their doctor to rule out any health problems or sleep disorders.