A new study of 27 normal weight, 30- to 45-year-old men and women examined the association between sleep duration and hunger.
Results indicate that increasing the amount of sleep that adults get could lead to reduced food intake, but the hormonal process differs between men and women.
Short sleep increased the total level of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone, in men but not women and reduced the level of GLP-1, a hormone that makes you feel full, in women but not in men, a sex difference that has not been reported before.
The authors of the study, published in the journal SLEEP suggest their findings point to the fact that the risk of overeating during short sleep is related to increased appetite in men and reduced feelings of fullness in women.
To their knowledge, their study is the largest controlled clinical investigation of the effects of sleep reduction on hormonal regulation of food intake. The results support a causal role of sleep duration on energy intake and weight control.
In addition to increasing your risk of obesity, sleeping less than seven hours per night also puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.