Category Archives: Snooze, you Lose Weight: Sleep and Obesity

Snooze, you Lose Weight: Sleep and Obesity

Our rhythms are off when we get poor or little sleep. Our distressed hormones respond by telling us to eat more.
1.People are Sleeping Less
2.Why Can’t We Sleep?
3.Biggest Losers
4.How Sleep Debt Leads to Obesity

More Proof That Sleep Debt Makes Us Fat

Poor sleep can lead to a big appetite.

A new analysis in in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that  restricted sleep of about 4 hours made participants in a small study eat an average of 385 calories more the next day. More fat and lesss protein were consumed.

Sleep debt leads to all sorts of physical changes that favor weight gain. These changes can increase calorie intake, as in a post-flight feeding frenzy, or reduce energy output or even do both.

See Chapter 10: Snooze, You Lose Weight: Sleep and Obesity in Globesity: Ten Things You Didn’t Know Were Making You fat.




Late Bedtimes Add Weight in Children

Our children are staying up later and sleeping less. New research confirms that sleep debt contributes to obesity in young children.

Researchers at the University of Virginia analyzed a large sample of 4 and 5-year olds from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort. The timing and duration of sleep were noted by parents of these children by a questionnaire.


  • Obesity was more likely in for children sleeping less than nine and one-half hours a night.
  • Obesity was more likely for 5 year-olds going to bed at 9 PM or waking before 6:30 AM.
  • Sleeping more would be an easy remedy. Parents could catch some more shut-eye too.

The study appears in Pediatric Obesity.


Book Stores and Beaches Do Mix

Thanks to all who attended my pseudo-TED (Truly Enlightening Discourse) talk in Santa Monica on Saturday at Barnes & Noble on 3rd Street Promenade.I know it wasn’t easy given that the awesome SoCal beach was just two blocks away. There are still a few signed copies of Globesity: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Were Making You Fat available at the store (call 310 260 9110 to reserve or order). Hannah, thanks for the deck work. Frank, thanks for the lovely event set-up.

FYI: TED’s mission statement:

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other…”

Community of curious souls. I’d be honored to be part of that.

No Sleep Leads to Big Portions

Scientists publishing in December’s issue of Appetite journal compared portion sizes in young men after a night of sleep and after an entire night without sleep. The researchers from Sweden and the UK found that after total sleep deprivation, the men had raised ghrelin, the hormone that increases hunger. Indeed, the subjects chose larger portions than when they had gotten a regular night of sleep. The supersizing continued as they snacked throughout the day.

But even short sleeps will play havoc with hormones. In earlier experiments at another university setting, students limited to 4 hours for two nights, ghrelin levels increased and leptin levels decreased.

The increased appetite and probable weight gain which comes with short and disturbed sleep—or zero sleep as in the European evidence—may be manageable if it is random, such as studying for a big exam or New Year’s Eve. But for night shift workers, it presents serious challenges.

One solution is to defend against the greedy ghrelin and lazy leptin. How? Keep lots of low-calorie foods and snacks at the ready. Then when you start foraging at 5 AM, your kitchen will offer fruit salad, creamy yogurt, popcorn, favorite soups…anything but the ice cream and cookie trap. Plan ahead.