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Sleep deprivation tied to weight gain

Failure to get a full night's sleep can lead to weight gain or compromise the beneficial effects of a reduced calorie diet on total body fat.

Sleep deprivation tied to weight gain

Failure to get a full night's sleep can lead to weight gain or compromise the beneficial effects of a reduced calorie diet on total body fat.

Reduced sleep duration has become a common aspect of ones lifestyle, defined by physical inactivity and overeating. Diet-induced weight loss is a major behavioural strategy for metabolic risk reduction. However, whether it is effective during times of reduced sleep duration is unknown.

Researchers from America studied nine healthy overweight volunteers. The average subject age was 40 years and the average body mass index was 27.5, which is in the overweight range. The subjects completed two 14-day trials, conducted at least 3 months apart, during which time they spent either 5.5 hours or 8.5 hours in bed per night. During both study periods, they consumed a nutritionally balanced diet containing calories up to 90 percent of their resting metabolic rate. Weight loss during each trial was similar (6.6 vs 6.4 pounds), respectively).

However, fat represented only 26 percent of the weight loss during periods of sleep restriction compared with 57 percent during the 8.5-hour sleep intervals, indicating an increased loss of lean body mass occurred during reduced sleep conditions.

The researchers concluded that the neurologic and endocrine system's response to the reduced calorie diet was amplified by recurrent sleep restriction, as evidenced by increased concentrations of ghrelin, a hormone reported to stimulate the appetite.

In another study in Philadelphia, 92 healthy adults (22 to 45 years old) spent 2 nights of unrestricted sleep (10 hours in bed), followed by 5 nights of restricted sleep (4 hours in bed), and then 4 nights of recovery. Nine control subjects spent 10 hours per night in bed during the 11-day study. Sleep-restricted subjects experienced an average weight gain of 2.9 pounds during the trial protocol, even though they reported decreases in appetite, food cravings and food consumption. By contrast, there was no significant weight gain in the control group.

These studies suggest that sleep deprivation can contribute to obesity by likely affecting the balance between the hormones leptin and ghrelin that help the body control appetite and weight. 
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