Sleep loss and weight gain: Missing just one night of sleep lowers metabolism

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Sleep deprivation may trigger prediabetes
Losing sleep lowers metabolism and can lead to weight gain.

According the the American Diabetes Association, “A study of 14 male university students found that the metabolisms of those who were deprived of sleep even for just one night slowed the following morning, resulting in a 5% to 20% reduction in energy expenditure for digestion, breathing and other tasks compared with those who had enough sleep. Researchers also found that the study participants’ blood-sugar levels, appetite-regulating hormones and stress hormones increased after one night of no sleep.”

Reuters Health reported on the study that showed the men under several different sleep scenarios, including curtailed sleep, no sleep, and normal sleep over several days.  Study measures included changes in how much the study participates ate, their blood sugar, hormone levels and indicators of their metabolic rate like oxygen use.

“The team found that even a single night of missed sleep slowed the volunteers’ metabolisms the next morning, reducing their bodies’ energy expenditure for tasks like breathing and digestion by 5 to 20 percent, compared with the morning after a good night’s sleep.

The young men also had higher morning levels of blood sugar, appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin, and stress hormones like cortisol after sleep deprivation. Still, the sleep loss did not boost the amount of food the men consumed during the day.”

Sleep Loss and Pre-Diabetes

There are many risk factors for developing pre-diabetes; changes in metabolic function are one known factor and weight gain is another. Getting regular sleep may help keep off weight, help overweight patients lose weight more efficiently and help stave off certain increased risks of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

How little sleep is too little sleep?  Studies indicate anything five hours or less of sleep each night could pose metabolic and other health risks to people.

Source:  Natasha Allen. Reuters Health, May 13, 2011.  Does sleep loss up weight loss by lowering metabolism?