Not getting enough rest has a negative impact on your health and physical wellbeing. One outcome of sleep deprivation may be an uptick in the number of calories you consume Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference . Poor diet quality and excessive body weight may also stem from lack of sleep.

The relationship between lack of sleep and eating excessively is likely tied to hormonal functions in the body Trusted Source National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) The NHLBI is the nation's leader in the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders. See Full Reference . Getting a good night’s rest promotes a healthy balance of hormones, including those that regulate appetite, digestion, and metabolism.

How Are Sleep and Appetite Connected?

A good night’s rest promotes healthy production of hormones that control appetite Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference , including leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a peptide hormone that regulates your body’s energy balance by hindering feelings of hunger and regulating fat storage. Gherin — a hormone secreted in the stomach Trusted Source Wiley Online Library Wiley Online Library is one of the largest and most authoritative collections of electronic journals published by Wiley, as well as a vast and growing collection of reference works and other books. See Full Reference that acts as a counterpart to leptin — boosts appetite, growth, and fat production.

Sufficient, restful sleep allows the body to regulate production of these two hormones, creating a balance of appetite and satiation. Likewise, lack of sleep can create an imbalance in the body that increases ghrelin levels and lowers leptin levels. This can cause you to feel hungrier during the day. This imbalance caused by sleep deprivation may lead to a higher calorie intake during the day.

Additionally, sleep loss can impact how your body reacts to production of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. This can in turn put you at higher risk for diabetes, a disease that alters the way your body converts food into energy Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. See Full Reference . Obesity is considered a major predictor for diabetes.

 

Can Lack of Sleep Make You Eat More?

One recent study found that partial sleep deprivation did not significantly affect energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate Trusted Source Wiley Online Library Wiley Online Library is one of the largest and most authoritative collections of electronic journals published by Wiley, as well as a vast and growing collection of reference works and other books. See Full Reference , or the amount of calories burned when your body is at rest. However, researchers noted that sleep-deprived people tend to consume less fat and protein while their carbohydrate intake remains stagnant.

Although epidemiological studies point to a link between lack of sleep and obesity Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference , as well as a link between short sleep duration and a high body mass index (BMI), researchers have yet to establish how much sleep deprivation impacts appetite and food desire.

In addition to inhibiting healthy production of leptin and ghrelin, lack of sleep can also lead to feelings of fatigue. People who experience fatigue — particularly older adults Trusted Source Oxford Academic Journals (OUP) OUP publishes the highest quality journals and delivers this research to the widest possible audience. See Full Reference — are less likely to engage in physical activity. Fatigue may also affect BMI.

While sleep duration has been shown to affect appetite and caloric intake, sleep quality is also crucial. Those who sleep poorly, especially women, are more likely to follow a less healthy diet Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference . This puts them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Can Lack of Sleep Cause You to Not Eat?

Sleep loss has not conclusively been shown to cause lack of appetite. That said, some medical conditions are often characterized by both fatigue and appetite loss. For example, different types of cancer Trusted Source Cancer.net Cancer.net is the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s patient information website. See Full Reference — as well as certain cancer treatment methods — can cause weight loss when the body does not receive enough nutrients and fatigue brought on by muscle loss.

Other conditions that can cause fatigue and loss of appetite include influenza Trusted Source National Center for Biotechnology Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference , food poisoning Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) As the nation’s health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health threats. See Full Reference , hay fever Trusted Source American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals. See Full Reference and other allergies, fibromyalgia Trusted Source National Health Service (NHS) The NHS website for England is the UK's biggest health website, with more than 50 million visits every month. See Full Reference , and Crohn’s disease Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference . Some women also experience fatigue and appetite loss during their pre-menstrual cycle Trusted Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. See Full Reference , though conversely, some will increase their intake of certain foods.

If you’re concurrently experiencing fatigue and loss of appetite, there may be an underlying medical condition causing these symptoms. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, and don’t assume you’re eating less simply because you feel tired.

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