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How much sleep to reduce the risk of obesity?

MedExpress Team

Tomasz Kobosz

Published July 3, 2023 13:07

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Tomasz Kobosz, M.D., an internist, endocrinologist, diabetologist and author of publications on, among other things, a multifaceted approach to the problem of obesity, discusses the importance of sleep in weight control with Dr. Mark Derkacz.

- We know that sleep and recovery are very important in the process of maintaining a healthy metabolism and successfully reducing body weight. How does sleep affect our body weight and susceptibility to obesity?

M.D.: Sleep plays a key role, and therefore one of the most important roles in both appetite regulation, metabolism and hormonal balance in our bodies. The effect of sleep on everyone's body weight can be compared to an almost poetic choreography in which hormones such as leptin, ghrelin and melatonin play major roles. These hormones regulate feelings of satiety, appetite and energy metabolism. Lack of sleep can disrupt this harmonious choreography, leading to appetite dysregulation, a brutal uptick in cravings for high-calorie meals and difficulty maintaining a healthy weight.

- How do sleep length and quality affect our body weight?

M.D.: Sleep length and quality are crucial to our weight. Studies suggest that short sleep, meaning less than 7-8 hours per night, and poor quality sleep, such as intermittent sleep or sleep problems, can significantly increase the risk of developing obesity. One study found that people who sleep less than 5 hours per night have a 55% higher risk of obesity compared to those who spend an adequate amount of time in bed.

- Can lack of adequate sleep contribute to weight gain?

M.D.: Yes, lack of adequate sleep can contribute to weight gain. There are many mechanisms that may explain this relationship. One of them is the effect of sleep on hormonal regulation. Lack of sleep leads to an increase in a hormone called ghrelin, which increases feelings of hunger, and a decrease in leptin, which is responsible for feelings of satiety. This leads to a greater appetite, a greater tendency to consume caloric meals and difficulty in maintaining healthy eating habits, and this is where the so-called "tipping plateau" often begins, although we ...

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