Fable about sleeping or not? Bad sleep makes you fat

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Fable about sleeping or not? Bad sleep makes you fat

Does poor sleep make you gain weight? Photo: Pexels

The internet is full of myths about sleep. In the section Fable about sleeping or not? we dive on top of those myths to clarify. With today: ‘Bad sleep makes you fat’.

Subway spoke with Stephanie Molenaar, sleep expert and author of eleven different books on sleep. We recently wrote about coffee, whether it is really as bad for your sleep as you often hear.

Do you gain weight from poor sleep?

Does a bad night’s sleep negatively affect your body weight? Molenaar recalls: “Sleep, or lack thereof, directly affects the gut microbiome and vice versa. So if you sleep well you become ‘healthy’ and if you are healthy you sleep well. You can see the difference after just one night. Many hormones are produced in your gut. For example, it involves more than 90 percent of your sleep hormones.”

Yet it is not entirely due to the large amount of sleep hormones in your gut, the regulation of other hormones also play a role. Molenaar: “Sleep regulates all kinds of processes in your body and keeps them in balance. This also applies to the ‘appetite’ process, which is controlled by the hormones leptin and ghrelin.”

Leptin and ghrelin

“Leptin tells you if you are full, ghrelin tells you if you are hungry. If you don’t sleep well at night, this process in your body runs less smoothly.” Molenaar explains it as a vicious circle: “Suppose your ghrelin is decreasing, so you keep eating, partly because the amount of leptin decreases. This has to do with your energy needs: the fatigue is seen by your body as a sign that you need more energy, in the form of sugar bombs. That in turn does something to your blood sugar level. After that kick comes the famous sugar crash, which makes you even more tired, and that makes you want to eat even more.”

Another reason why you could gain weight with little sleep is because you are awake longer. So you have more opportunity to eat compared to a normal day. “And because you don’t feel fit, you will also start exercising less,” adds Molenaar.

Molenaar therefore wants to give the following advice: “Do you sleep badly? Then eat wisely and avoid gaining weight. Moderate what you put in your mouth, avoid the sugar bombs and make sure you get some exercise despite the fatigue. Make sure to take a power nap, or prioritize your sleep the next night.”


Does poor sleep make you fat? Judgment: partly true.

A bad night’s sleep does not immediately add extra pounds on the scale, but it can cause more hunger because the hormones ghrelin and leptin in your body are no longer in balance. If you eat more calories than you need on a daily basis, you will gain weight.

Fable about sleeping or not? Watching TV before going to sleep is not a problem for your night’s sleep

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