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Sleeping less canít help you lose weight Ė report

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Tuesday 5th February 2013

If you are a short sleeper – someone who gets 5.5 to 6 hours sleep or less a night – you’ll find it harder to lose weight.

Researchers have found that people who sleep for 90 minutes less than the recommended 7-8 hours are more likely to consume an average of 550 more calories during the day. This is backed up by a study at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and Columbia University in New York who found a link between the length and phase of our sleep and hunger and weight gain. The amount of sleep we get along with how long we are in each sleep phase is important as it is associated with reduced metabolic rate, increased hunger and increased consumption of calories.

A study at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota found that the amount of sleep you get affects the ghrelin levels – the level of a hunger-stimulating peptide. When you get enough sleep the levels of ghrelin stays the same but in tests where people have only had 5 hours sleep their ghrelin levels rose by 9 points. So when you are sleep deprived your hungry levels increase, which stimulates an increase in consuming calories. Ghrelin also promotes the retention of fat so that explains why people who get 5 hours of sleep hold in body fat.

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