Lack of sleep not only damages the general health of an adult, it may also result in an increase in the fat deposits on the body and cause adding of inches to the girth and taking away any significant gains of a weight reduction program that an individual is undergoing.
Case Western Reserve University, US recently conducted a study on a sample size of 68,000 women. The study showed that women who slept less than five hours a night gained more weight over the course of time and were likelier to have obesity in comparison to women who slept seven hours a night.
People like these who fall in the bracket of sleep deprivation are 70 percent more likely to become obese in comparison to people who get a healthy amount of sleep of seven to nine hours in the night. Of course, there is also the question of productivity loss that accompanies sleep deprivation.
This fine correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain or obesity is due to two hormones in our body called Leptin and Ghrelin. These help in regulating appetite and the satiety in our body. The hormone Leptin has the function of suppressing appetite whereas Ghrelin signals hunger or that the person just needs to eat.
A sleep deprived individual will find that the levels of Leptin decreases, consequently leading to an increase in the levels of Ghrelin, This sends the brain a signal that the body is starving and makes the person get hunger pangs. During this time, the individual often tends to eat junk or fatty food and hence causes weight gain or obesity.
The study has revealed that people having sleep deprivation normally feel hungrier the next day and end up taking more food to satiate it. Also sleep deprivation makes a person gravitate towards fatty and high calorie food that is normally saltier, sweeter and starchier in its content.
This then results in collection of body fat that is higher in levels overtime, hence explaining the theory of why people who have lesser number of hours of sleep have a difficult time losing weight.
People who have sleep deprivation are likelier to eat junk and sweet food than vegetables and fruits when they get hunger pangs, hence making the body cycle an unhealthy one. This kind of food is not metabolized properly by the body because of hormonal imbalance.
Thus a vicious circle of lack of sleep, consumption of unhealthy food, weight gain, and bad health is unleashed within the human body.