First, some clarifications of terms:
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to maintain sleep over many nights. It can have many causes: behavioral, physiological, pharmaceutical, environmental.
Sleep deprivation is the result of not getting adequate sleep night after night, either due to insomnia or other health condition, or to some self-imposed behavior (going to bed late then getting up early, perhaps, or working the overnight shift and not getting good recovery sleep).
If you suffer from one or both of these situations, you are setting yourself up for the possibility of slower metabolism and unwanted weight gain over time. Here's a few reasons why.
|"Voodoo Doughnut Documentary Project" (2005) |
by Anna Maj Michelson. CCA:2.0-Generic.
Put these two elements of sleep physiology together and you can see where you might be headed if you don't keep up a decent sleep schedule. If you have just one night of insomnia or you have to shave off a couple of hours of sleep every once in a while due to work or travel, it's not going to turn into a downward obesity spiral, but if you have chronic problems with poor or inadequate sleep, you may find yourself packing on the weight and finding it difficult to stave off cravings. And then the vicious cycle begins: overweight bodies are overtired, while often underexercised and deprived of sleep, simultaneously.
National Geographic recently ran some eye-opening surveys about sleep in America, confirming what scientific evidence has been saying for a while now: the less that you sleep, the more weight you are likely to gain, as much as almost 8 times more than those who sleep close to 8 hours every night. This, even after accounting for exercise habits and family history.
The takeaway is this: Want to be healthy? Want to avoid obesity? Get your ZZZs.
Insomnia Increases Junk Food Cravings: Sleep deprivation blunts brain function linked to eating healthy foods || Psychology Today--The Athlete's Way
Body Weight and Sleep || Sleepdex
The State of Sleep Deprivation in America || National Geographic Channel