Increased sleep is associated with higher levels of leptin, the appetite-suppressing hormone. This fits with research showing people who get their eight hours of sleep a night weigh less.
Sleep deprivation increases appetite, according to the results of a brief randomized study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. "Total sleep deprivation in rodents and in humans has been associated with hyperphagia (increased appetite)," writes Karine Spiegel, PhD, from the University of Chicago in Illinois, and colleagues. "Over the past 40 years, self-reported sleep duration in the United States has decreased by almost two hours."
In this clinical study, 12 healthy men alternated between two days of sleep restriction (four hours per night) and two days of sleep extension. During sleep restriction, there was an 18 percent decrease in the appetite suppressing hormone leptin, and a 28 percent increase in the appetite stimulating hormone called ghrelin. These are associated with a 24 percent increase in hunger and a 23 percent increase in appetite—especially for carbohydrates, which helped pack on the pounds.
"Short sleep duration in young, healthy men is associated with decreased leptin levels, increased ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite," the authors write. "Additional studies should examine the possible role of chronic sleep curtailment as a previously unrecognized risk factor for obesity."
Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:846-850, 885-886
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Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.