The scale reads: 180. You wonder how you went from 150 to 165 to 180 pounds in only three years. Weight gain can creep up on you, just like the gradual fatigue that can take over your life after a period of sleepless nights.
People tend to blame weight gain on only diet and lack of exercise, but there can be so many other factors involved.
For example, insomnia, a sleep disorder, can cause weight gain (or at least be associated with it).
In one recent study at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, researchers found two hormones that regulate the balance of energy in the body, which helps the body determine hunger and satiation. However, chronic insomnia can interfere with one of the hormones and therefore mess up the body’s determination of whether you’re full or hungry.
Another study is just for the ladies, though not necessarily about insomnia. It focuses on women who sleep five hours or less (but insomnia would also fit into that category). It found that women who sleep less on average weigh more than those who sleep more. The women who slept less also ate less and exercised at a rate that didn’t seem to affect weight gain. Therefore, hormones seem to be involved.
Other conclusions that need further study include changes in the number of calories burnt when resting and the fact that those who sleep less might move around less throughout the day (not related to actual exercise).
Yet another study found that “sleep deprivation doubles risks of obesity in both children and adults.” Again, this is not directly related to insomnia, but small amounts of sleep are common in insomnia. The study points out what others have suggested: that hormones can be affected and can cause an increase in appetite due to the sleep deprivation.
Although all this research points to getting a decent amount of sleep, sometimes that is not possible. For example, some careers and schooling require long hours that leave little time for chores and other activities. Therefore, extra duties are completed when a person should be sleeping.