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March 19, 2013

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I have always wondered on what type of music they play during music therapy, especially in children. I know in peds, the toys you can hang on cribs that play gentle melodies can help. Of course that would not work on me, but I have tried classical/electronic music which I can not say for sure has worked. I would imagine if one couldn't go to sleep, why not grab a midnight snack? Though the weight gain can take a toll on self-image.

I have personally tried music therapy to help me fall asleep only to have failed. I have tried different genres such as classical, relaxation, nature sounds, etc. I would like to know what kind of music they used in the study.

This idea makes sense to me because when the body cannot enter REM sleep and get the parasympathetic nervous system in rhythm, then food is not properly digested. That leads to lack of energy and more consumption of food the next day even though your body may not need it. This is especially true when you see people that eat late at night it does not allow proper digestion throughout the night.

One of the other bloggers has made a good point about the relationship between stress, increased eating and then subsequent weight gain. Perhaps the explanation is that simple and has less to do with hormone levels.

I have the opposite effect of lack of sleep. I lose weight when I don't have sufficient sleep. Is there an explanation for this?

I find this article very interesting. Both lack of sleep and weight gain are prominent problems in the US. I have always heard correlations between these factors, but was not aware that there was a study conducted. I think the importance of sleep should be emphasized to the public; thus, we can potentially decrease the prevalence of future overweight and obesity gradually.

It is interesting to look at what hormones are causing the increased food consumption. It would be interesting to look at the hormone differences between men and women to see if there is a correlation to the weight gain. If cortisol increases were leading to the increased food consumption are there other ways men are dealing with it? Due to a faster metabolism, weight gain may not be as apparent in men as it is in women.

I have definitely heard this before. lack of sleep leads to weight gain. This could be because your body is trying to replace the energy being lost from lack of sleep with energy from food, making you feel more hungry. Or perhaps its correlated with stress. high levels of stress is always correlated with eating more and less sleep!

With a lack of sleep, the functionality of the thyroid gland decreases which leads to a decreased metabolism. This may play a large part in the cause of weight gain. This makes sense when looking at cases of hypothyroidism, weight loss or maintaining weight can be much more difficult for individuals

This was just a small scale study that lasted fifteen days, but study subjects gained 0.8kg of weight! I would love to see this study redone over a longer period of time. I know many pharmacists that are working the overnight shifts and they seem to be gaining weight, without eating much during the day and only snacking when permitted at night. I would love to know the exact hormonal and/or metabolic reasons behind this weight gain.


A correlation between increased weight with decreased sleep is not something that seems to far fetched, but a better study would definitely need to be conducted before a confident conclusion can be reached. I found NBF's comment about the link between sleeping and hormones to be especially interesting. It would be noteworthy to see a study that measured sleep, weight, and the corresponding hormones for a longer duration of time.

I like the concept of the study and would enjoy viewing a trial with a larger patient population and longer follow up. I think that we can't underscore the impact of good sleep patterns and the impact on patients. Just look at your type 2 diabetes population and the impact of poor sleep on their blood glucose levels. The discussions with patients and how much of a variation patients experience when they have a night of very poor sleep on their blood glucose numbers is telling. We have received many outstanding suggestions to provide our patients during a segment when patients are experiencing challenges with sleep that have been made available from the Natural Standard.

It doesn't surprise me that the study subjects with insufficient sleep gained weight as opposed to when they had adequate sleep. It seems that this relationship could easily turn into a vicious cycle. As we know, sleeping complications can develop from being overweight, such as sleep apnea. This condition can disrupt sleep and lead to increased weight gain, further exacerbating the sleep apnea. With this in mind, I intend to make it a priority to educate my patients on sleep hygiene.

At least the weight gain seems to be related to the increased food intake rather than a direct effect of inadequate sleep. That means that even if we can’t control how much sleep we get due to busy schedules and whatnot, we can control how much we eat and therefore prevent the weight gain. It’s also interesting that most of the eating occurs after dinner. If we’re short on sleep, why don’t we just sleep rather than eating?

I suspect there are multiple weight-inducing effects resulted from lack of sleep rather than just the increase in food consumption. The complexity is due to the involvement of many physiological systems (CNS, digestive system, etc.) as well as physical nature of sleep loss (lack of sleep leads to fatigue and thus little exercise and eventual slow metabolism). It would be of great value to have further research that looks into isolating these variables to offer more concrete insights into this matter.

By just reading the title, I can agree just from personal experiences and the stress that school and work may bring. Lack of sleep usually means one is stressed. So stress brings out cortisol. Increasing abdominal fat! Life of a pharmacy/grad student!

Fascinating study. Truly.. given obesity rise in the population in the US. Are we as a nation perhaps sleeping less than we were about 10-20 years ago? The study also found that when the sleep patterns returned to normal, the weight gained, was lost again. So perhaps... this is indication that if one would like to lose weight, part of it.. sleeping more. They next question would be, what would be the ideal amount of sleep?

I recently attend the SPARC conference, and someone presented a study where they found people who sleep 6-8 hours per night, when combined with diet, had the greatest amount of weight loss. They were looking at number of hours slept, as well as stress level. The lowest stress level also helped as well to lose weight.

It's unfortunate this study is so low in number/size as well as the fact that it was only carried out for 15 days.

But funny... perhaps there is truth in the old wives tale, of getting one's "BEAUTY" sleep!

I can see the connection with lack of sleep and gaining weight. People with lack of sleep will drink more coffee to stay awake during the day. Also they are less likely to exercise due to their lack of energy. It seems that a lot of people have problems with sleep possibly due to stress at work or long workdays. I know that when I come home from a long workday I cannot sleep right away, which causes me to have less hours of sleep. I will now try to remember not to eat too much or drink too much coffee to prevent gaining extra weight.

I was just talking about this with some friends of mine. Sleep is so important to our health and it is no surprise that it affects us in the is way!

It just reinforces how important sleep is. My father sent me an article last year about a study that discussed sleep and stroke risk. According to the study, stroke risk was four times higher for people getting less than six hours of sleep (as opposed to the normal seven or eight suggested)--and that was for people with normal BMI and low risk of sleep apnea! There was definately multiple points he was trying to make there...

I think Zach is onto something with his theory about stress. It makes a lot of sense that increased cortisol levels, which are common with stress, would then lead to weight gain. We are familiar with corticosteroids increasing weight, I imagine the mechanism would be similar in this situation.

What about the link between sleeping and hormones such as ghrelin and leptin that effect our appetite? Ghrelin is the appetite increaser and leptin is the appetite supressor. There have been studies showing a link between sleep time and these hormones. A study done at Standford University and University of Minnesota, on 1000 volunteers, showed that volunteers that slept less than 8 hours had reduced leptin and increased ghrelin levels. So basically what I make out of this is that if you sleep less you have reduced leptin and increased ghrelin levels so you have an increased appetite leading to more eating leading to weight gain.

I was thinking about this trial some more and had additional thoughts. I wonder if the weight gain wasn't related to poor sleep habits, but higher levels of stress? We know that increases in stress lead to increases in cortisol. As far as I know, cortisol is generally thought of as promoting utilization of stored energies (weight loss), but I feel like I have heard a number of studies looking at weight gain in people under consistently high levels of stress. Maybe they are eating more to psychologically calm themselves? What do you all think?

This is an interesting study but it seems to be a lot of problems with it. At least to me, 5 days of insufficient sleep and a total 15 day study does not seem like enough time to assess anything. It does bring a good point however, most of us are very busy in our lives and we lose our sleep schedules. Because of that it effects our healthy lifestyles and perhaps could be why some of us are gaining weight. We eat to stay awake and often times are in so much of a hurry or are so tired that we don't choose the healthiest food. We pick was is quick and usually bought instead of the healthier option.

Though this study has it's limitations, I love seeing things we hear about being scientifically studied. We all 'know' that not getting enough sleep isn't good for us, and there a host of consequential effects. But as someone mentioned..is it going to make us change our habits?

We all are beginning to live in such high-stress environments that this doesn't surprise me for a second. While daily demands increase, the first thing to typically get cut is a full night's sleep and it is so unfortunate. Our bodies really need that time to recover and regroup. I agree with Zach that I would love to larger controlled trials for definitive proof; however, lack of sleep has been tied to so many different adverse outcomes in the past few years that I would be shocked to see new results.

I agree with Zach - there need to be much longer studies of this. I don't think I've gotten adequate sleep in years, and I didn't start gaining weight until I hit 30! In addition, this was an inpatient study - what about when people are up doing other activities, and maybe exercising? Would that offset the gain at all?

Even though this is a small study, it brings to light a very important issue in our society. We push ourselves too hard and loose sleep over it, then try to compensate for that energy loss by eating more. Clearly the extra calories are unnecessary, and not a comparable replacement for sleep. I admire countries with shorter typical work weeks than the US; it would be interesting to see if a study like this performed in a different country would fare the same.

I think sleep is related to your metabolism. Thus it makes sense that if you are tired and sluggish, your metabolism would become the same.

The women in this sleep study gained 1-3 pounds in a 15 day study, and kept most of the weight when they got back to normal sleep patterns. Maybe this helps explain the dreaded 'Freshman 15'. This amount would correlate well with 2 semesters of college.
That being said, I would want to see much bigger, much longer studies before I bought into this too much.

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