Why Poor Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight

Wed, Apr 17, 2019

abdomens-1432560-websmall.jpgminIf you’re like most people, you probably get around 6-8 hours sleep a night. What you might not know is that sleeping for less than 9 hours could be contributing to weight gain. Not only that but, if you suffer from sleep apnoea your chances of gaining weight are even higher.

Sleep Duration & Weight Gain

A new study analysing sleep effects on health has found that people in the study, who were sleeping for 6 hours each night had waist measurements of 3 cm wider than those who are getting 9 hours of sleep.

The research, led by Laura Hardie of the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine and the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, involved 1,615 people aged 19-65 in Great Britain. Laura and her team studied the relationship between sleep duration and a number of quantifiable factors such as waist circumference, blood pressure, lipids, glucose, thyroid hormones and other measures of a person's metabolic profile.

"Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese. Our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep," Hardie told

"How much sleep we need differs between people," she added, "but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults."

In fact, the findings of this new study show that waist circumference and BMI are lowest for people who get 12 hours sleep a night! This finding contradicts earlier studies that have shown too much sleep might have a similar impact on the body as too little sleep.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea And Weight Gain

Another new study has revealed the vicious cycle of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and weight gain. It’s a well-known fact that obesity is a leading risk factor for OSA, but a new study has revealed that OSA itself may promote further weight gain.

Ari Shechter, a Professor in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University, recently published his findings in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews. Shechter’s findings suggest that OSA severity is linked to unhealthy dietary choices. Food preference was studied in a group of patients undergoing screening for OSA. They analysed the fibre and fat intake in the morning following the diagnostic study.

The evidence suggests that leptin levels are abnormally high in those with OSA, similar to the leptin levels seen in obesity. This may also contribute to a “leptin resistance” in OSA patients.

Leptin, also known as the ‘starvation hormone’ notifies your brain if you have eaten enough. It also notifies you if your calorie intake is sufficient. An abnormally high leptin can cause a resistance, resulting in low satiety and high hunger. Which leads to excess food intake and weight gain.

Shechter’s research validates the reciprocal relationship between sleep disorders and weight gain. But we all know how difficult it can be to get 6-8 hours sleep, let alone 9-12. Even if you don’t have OSA, getting enough sleep is vital to achieving your health and weight goals. Here are 9 things you can do today to get a better night’s sleep.

If you (or someone you know) suffers from snoring or sleep apnea, contact us now on 1300 246 637 (or by sending a confidential email using the form below) for an obligation-free chat with one of our friendly Sleep Therapists. Snoring and sleep apnea should be treated; not tolerated.

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