If you want to lose weight, stick to healthy sleeping habits as a new study suggests that keeping the body deprived of sleep can increase weight.
Researchers say that lifestyle changes like healthy eating and exercise can help people lose weight, but maintaining good sleep habits can get people manage their weight better.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was based on review of literature on partial sleep deprivation on energy balance and weight regulation published between 1996 and 2011.
Analysis of all the articles published during this period showed that people who were deprived of sleep had reduced insulin sensitivity along with increases in ghrelin and decreases in leptin.
Now, ghrelin is the "hunger hormone" that makes people want to eat food. Leptin, on the other hand, reduces food intake and encourages weight loss. Loss of sleep changes the balance of these hormones, increasing levels of ghrelin and decreasing levels of the weight loss promoter leptin hormone.
"Changes in these hormones coinciding with an energy-reduced diet paired with changes in response to partial sleep deprivation may be expected to increase ghrelin and decrease leptin concentrations even further to promote hunger," said Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, PhD, MD, professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shorter duration of sleep makes people eat more, especially food that is high in fat. When people do not get enough exercise to use this extra food, they tend to store it in their bodies.
"Various investigations, although diverse, indicate an effect of partial sleep deprivation on body weight management. The intriguing relationship between partial sleep deprivation and excess adiposity makes partial sleep deprivation a factor of interest in body weight regulation, particularly in weight loss," said Dr. Nickols-Richardson, who is the lead author of the study.
According to another related study, shorter duration of sleep might actually increase BMI, as the genetic factors are more likely to be expressed when a person is sleep deprived.
CDC had earlier reported that nearly a third of Americans are sleep deprived. Previous research published in the journal Obesity, says that short sleep duration was found to be independently associated with weight gain among all age groups. Another study published in American Journal of Epidemiology also says that women who don't get enough sleep have modest weight gain.