An individual who lacks sleep is at increased risk of becoming obese than the person who gets proper rest at night, a study stated. According to the research, sleeplessness can make a person feel less satisfied and full even after having a heavy meal.

The study, published in the Journal of Lipid Research earlier this month, added on to the earlier researches that focused on the harmful effects of sleep deprivation.  While most of the previous studies focused on the association of sleep restriction with glucose metabolism, the latest research looked into the digestion of lipids from food.

The research, led by a group of researchers from Pennsylvania State University, examined a total of 15 healthy male participants who were in their 20s. All the participants were observed for 10 days.

 During the first five days of the study period, the participants were not allowed to sleep for more than five hours at night. The research team kept them engaged by playing games, interacting and talking to them about various subjects. The participants were also offered a standardized high-fat meal, consisting of a bowl of chili mac, during the study period.

“It was very palatable--none of our subjects had trouble finishing it--but very calorically dense,” lead researcher Kelly Ness said in a statement.

The researcher further revealed that most of the participants felt less satisfied after finishing up the rich meal. But when the participants were allowed to sleep for 10 hours at night, they were feeling full after having the same rich meal.

It is mainly because “the lipids weren't evaporating--they were being stored”, senior author Orfeu Buxton explained. Faster clearance of lipids from the blood after consuming food can increase the risk of obesity and overweight, the researchers noted.

“This study's importance relies on its translational relevance. A high-fat meal in the evening, at dinnertime--and real food, not something infused into the vein? That's a typical exposure. That's very American,” Buxton added.

Sleeping man Man asleep on grass. Photo: Getty Images/Sharon Lapkin