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Counting Sheep May Leave You Hungry

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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.

Helpful Tip:
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)

In Summary
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.

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3 thoughts on “Counting Sheep May Leave You Hungry”

  1. Can you please tell me more about how sleep apnea can be cesaud by a brain injury? I think I have sleep apnea. Going this weekend for a sleep study to confirm. I feel like I never had this issue until after a major sledding accident (7years ago) in which I am pretty sure I got a concussion.

    1. I hope you things went well with your sleep test. If it ends up you have Sleep Apnea, feel free to give our experts at call ( 1-800-356-5221 ) and we’ll gladly help you in whatever way we can. Also check out the Sleep Apnea forum at http://www.cpaptalk.com. This is a good forum for new and veteran CPAP users.

  2. I had a UPPP. I was actually a bit unhdrweiget and still had sleep apnea. The one good thing that came from the UPPP was after losing another 17 pounds (._.) I gained a lot more afterwards so I was normal weight. The pain during the UPPP recovery is really worth it though.

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