Many researchers are now studying the various links between sleep deprivation and weight. One of the largest findings to this point is that a lack of sleep tends to occur among adults who weight more.
Both surveys and studies have collected information for almost 40 years now, determining that about 10% of adults were obese with more of them being women than men. Many of these studies have shown that there is a connection to shorter sleep periods as well as poor sleep quality. One of the main studies completed was based on about 60,000 women in relation to their weight, sleep habits, diet, and other lifestyle details. They all started the study completely healthy, but about 16 years later those who were sleeping under five hours per night increased their risk of obesity by about 15%. This included the potential for about 30 pounds of weight gain, at a 30% higher risk than those who slept seven hours a night.
An incredible problem that has been found in these short and poor sleepers is the secretion of hormones that increase appetite and food cravings. The hormone ghrelin increased appetite and the other is leptin that indicates satiation. Additionally, there is the potential for greater eating without increased energy. Lack of activity reduces the number of calories burned and those pounds continue to pack on.
Many researchers have found connections between social, environmental, and other lifestyle factors that affect our sleeping patterns and our weight in the long run. Many of these studies have proven the association between inadequate sleep and higher BMI is stronger in children and adolescents. It also shows that sleep deficiency in lower socioeconomic groups may result in greater associated obesity risks.
Considering the connection between obesity and diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, there is much to evaluate in the secondary connection between lack of sleep and these as well.
Several potential ways exist to help improve sleep patterns and reduce the risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation can lead to being too tired to exercise or maintain at least a decent amount of activity. There is also the potential for poor eating habits, whether it is overeating or choosing unhealthy foods. Sometimes those times at night when you find yourself in sleep disruption in the middle of the night a sudden craving may occur in addition to regular meals during the day. All of this adding up has the greatest potential to lead to obesity.