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  • Katherine Sims

Sleep & Your Hormones

It has been previously proven in multiple research studies that sleep loss and weight gain go hand in hand. But why is this so? For starters, sleep loss can:


  1. cause a stronger than normal reward response to food.1-4

  2. stimulate impulsive food purchases. 5

  3. and increase daily food intake. 6

Additionally, sleep loss has been shown to affect the blood concentrations of certain hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin.7


Leptin, the satiety hormone, is produced by your body's fat cells and signals to your hypothalamus in your brain that you have enough fat stores and don't need to replenish those reserves. The amount of fat cells are in your body correlates with the concentration of leptin in your blood. The higher the concentration of leptin in your blood, the more satiated you feel and the less you eat. Conversely, lower concentrations of leptin signals to your brain that your fat stores are getting low and the less satiated you feel and the more you eat.8 Low long-term leptin concentrations can cause overeating and weight gain.


Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, is produced in the stomach. It signals the hypothalamus that the stomach is empty and so you need to eat. Among other metabolic processes, ghrelin controls your short-term appetite and promotes storing more fat. Learn more about ghrelin in our membership!


So, sleep deprivation reduces blood concentrations of the satiety hormone leptin while increasing blood concentrations of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. This can cause weight gain if the sleep deprivation becomes a chronic problem over time. The CDC recommends at least 7 hours of sleep every night for adults.9 So brush up on sleep hygiene, snuggle into a comfy bed, and slip into comforting REM sleep.


1 doi.org/10.1002/oby.20786

2 doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.027383

3 doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2013.114

4 doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-2759

5 doi.org/10.1002/oby.20579

6 doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.28523

7 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22804-ghrelin

8 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leptin-101#leptin

9 https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

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