Turns out, counting a bunch of sheep may leave you hungry. Research suggests a lack of sleep can increase hunger.
How Hunger Works
Grehlin, a hormone secreted in your stomach, tells your brain that your body is ready to eat. Once you fuel up, a different hormone named leptin gets released, signals to the brain you’re satiated. Together, these hormones keep your appetite in check. (1)
Sleeping less than five hours can bolster the amount of grehlin released, which causes hunger to increase. Additionally, a lack of sleep cam also decrease leptin levels, so the body doesn’t feel full as quickly. (1)
Proof’s in the Pudding
One study compared groups of well rested and sleep deprived participants, and found those with little sleep (four hours or less) ate a higher number of calories and tended more toward high-fat, high protein foods. (2)
“High-fat food is tempting, and maybe on short sleep you can’t restrain yourself as well, while on full sleep you can resist more easily.”
– Marie-Pierre St. Onge, Ph.D.
Having a large meal close to bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep because some foods contain stimulating proteins. (3) It is recommended you eat a light, healthy snack or meal 2 – 3 hours before you hit the sack. (4)
Sleeping keeps you healthy and active. (5) It’s important to keep up with your CPAP therapy, as a good night’s sleep can keep your appetite normalized.
What can 20 minutes of this do for your sleep? Check out this recent blog post.
(1) “Sleep and Hunger: The Flat Belly Connection” – Functional Balance, Inc.
(2) “Sleep Deprivation Spurs Hunger” – CNN Health, March 2011.
(3) “Five Foods That Help You Sleep” – Caring.com, August 2009, Sept 2009.
(4) “Foods Before Bed: Foods You Should Never Eat Before You Snooze” – Huffington Post, Sept 2012.
(5) “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep” – Health.com.