Insomnia leads to overeating but affects men and women differently

by Martin Reed on 5 March 2013 in insomnia information

There is a strong link between body weight and insomnia. Sleep deprivation can lead to additional weight gain, and being overweight can harm sleep quality.

Now a new study has found that sleep duration affects our feeling of hunger.

The study involved 27 individuals (men and women) who usually slept between 7-9 hours each night, were of a normal weight and were aged between 30-45 years old.

Researchers found that a short amount of sleep (4 hours) led to increased ghrelin levels in men but not women, and reduced GLP-1 levels in women, but not in men.

Ghrelin is the hunger stimulating hormone. GLP-1 is the hormone that tells us we’re full.

Basically, when men only got 4 hours of sleep, they produced more of the hunger stimulating hormone. Women produced less of the hunger stimulating hormone, but they also produced less of the hormone that tells us we’re full.

Both outcomes increase the likelihood of overeating.

What makes this research particularly interesting is the fact that it found the reason for sleep deprived overeating to be different in men compared to women.

For men, the cause of overeating appears to be down to increased ghrelin levels after a lack of sleep. For women, the cause may be down to reduced GLP-1 levels.

The end result is the same, though – and we’re presented with another study linking insomnia with an increased likelihood of weight gain due to overeating.

Source: SLEEP

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