Does lack of sleep cause weight gain?

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Weight loss isn’t always easy, and weight gain is often worrying.

You want to do all you can to speed up the process and it’s never simple to know what can help or hinder you.

Problem is, there’s so much advice, fad diets, and quick fix tips out there – it can be confusing, to say the least. 

The last thing you want is to lose sleep over what will or won’t help. Because losing sleep is something that definitely won’t help.  

We’ll talk you through the effects of lack of sleep on your weight and answer your question – does lack of sleep cause weight gain? 

In the high-paced world we live in, it’s no surprise that people don’t get as much sleep as they need to. 

Lack of sleep can cause several health problems, from higher chances of cardiovascular disease to concentration issues and potential weight gain. 

Let’s find out how lack of sleep affects weight gain.

Less sleep means more hunger

Research has found that a lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity and conditions like diabetes, which can contribute to weight gain.

Not getting enough sleep can lead to putting on weight – meaning it’s not only your diet that makes a difference in your health journey.

One reason for weight gain from lack of sleep is an increased appetite

Normally, when you get a good night’s sleep, your brain releases “hunger hormones” that tell your stomach that you’re full, helping you stay away from snacks. 

However, if you struggle to get a good rest, the hormones responsible for telling you “you’re full” may be lower during the day.

This is bad news if you’re trying to stop weight gain, as you’ll be hungrier and more likely to eat more the day after a bad night’s sleep. 

But a lack of sleep doesn’t just lead to binge eating and snacking.  

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep actually makes it harder to lose weight. 

When you’re not well-rested, the proportion of weight lost as fat can be up to 55% less.  

This makes it all the more important to make sure you’re doing all you can to hit your weight loss goals.

So take a look at our blog on how to improve sleep for weight loss to help improve your sleep quality for weight loss!

Lack of sleep messes up your natural rhythm

It’s not only the amount of sleep that matters but the consistency and quality of your sleep too.

A lack of quality sleep can cause weight gain by messing with your circadian rhythms, also known as your body clock

Circadian rhythms are a natural cycle of physical and mental changes that take place in our bodies over a 24hr period. 

They’re an important factor in how we eat and digest food, and sleep is a major player in keeping these circadian rhythms on track. 

A regular circadian rhythm is key for healthy living. 

It’s been found that keeping circadian rhythms stable is crucial for weight management and metabolic health.

Having a poor circadian rhythm can slow down your metabolism, affecting the way you burn calories. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’re more likely to gain weight

So if your metabolism slows down because of a poor circadian rhythm, you might put on some extra weight just by eating the same amount of calories you normally would.

If you’re trying to stop weight gain, making sure you get regular, good-quality sleep is an absolute must.

Bad sleep leads to worse food

On top of making you hungrier and less able to manage your weight, lack of sleep can actually make you choose worse foods.

It’s not just your appetite that grows – your body also feels like it needs fatty and sugary foods.

There might be a reason why you’re more tempted to reach for calorie-dense snacks after losing sleep. 

Studies show that people are more sensitive to food smells when they’re tired – meaning that a night of tossing and turning might lead to a less effective diet, bad food choices, and potential weight gain.

These changes in the brain make high-calorie foods more desirable, so you might not even be aware of the fact you’re eating more.

Who doesn’t reach for a sugary snack or extra caffeine boost if they’re feeling a little sluggish? We like to think it’s just the pick-me-up we need to get through the next hour of the day.  

But if this happens regularly, it can be a major factor in long-term obesity. 

Tiredness affects your habits

Another reason that lack of sleep can cause weight gain is a bit more obvious.

We all know what it’s like to be tired.

Being fatigued after a sleepless night is, well, exhausting. 

Every little thing can become so much more effort than usual.

And let’s be honest, no one likes cooking a homemade meal when they’re tired. 

That takeout pizza or frozen tv-dinner can seem so much more tempting when you’re tired.

Yes, it’s more convenient, but also full of sugars, saturated fats, and extra calories.

When you’re tired you’re more likely to crash earlier – meaning that your regular exercise routine will probably go out the window too. 

Lack of sleep means higher chance of midnight snacking

If you’re awake past your bedtime, you have more chances to eat.

It goes without saying that you can’t eat while you’re sleeping, and there’s a reason why your nightly trip to the fridge is called “midnight snack”.

So whether it’s boredom or genuine hunger, being up longer at night makes it far more likely that you’ll eat more food.

More food means more calories, which leads to weight gain.

Say goodbye to lack of sleep and get your weight loss back on track

Sleep is vital for our health and essential for keeping our body clocks and appetites in check. 

And yes, it looks like lack of sleep does cause weight gain.

Getting a good night’s rest consistently is key to supporting your weight loss journey, helping you feel more rested, in control of your food choices, and well equipped to meet your weight loss goals.

So if you’re serious about losing weight, it’s important you do everything you can to make the process easier, faster, and long-lasting.

This means better quality sleep results in a better chance of weight loss. 

But you don’t need to do it on your own.

Miboko has loads of helpful tips for making sure you’re doing everything you can on your weight loss journey.

Check out our tips on how to improve sleep for weight loss to get the best night’s sleep!

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