Michael Mosley: Sleep deprivation can cause ‘increased hunger’ – reasons for weight gain

This Morning: Michael Mosley discusses 800 calorie diet

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According to the NHS, most adults need between six and nine hours of solid sleep a night. Sleep deprivation over time can lead to health problems including weight gain. 

According to Dr Micheal Mosley, who is the creator of The Fast 800, sleep deprivation can have huge impacts on appetite. 

He said: “Generally, sleep deprivation causes quite the stir in our hormones affecting our mood, energy levels and appetite.”

A 2004 study by The University of Chicago put this to test by taking a group of healthy volunteers and restricting their sleep to just four hours for two nights in a row. 

The results showed that there was on average, a 28 percent increase in the hormone that triggers hunger. 

There was also an average of 18 percent decrease in leptin, a hormone that communicates to the brain that you are satisfied. 

Michael added: “Unsurprisingly, the increased hunger had a desire for salty, fatty and starchy foods.”

This means if you are trying to lose weight and not getting enough sleep each night, you could be at risk of actually putting on weight.

The expert went on: “King’s College London spent some time conducting a meta-analysis, combining the results of a high number of small studies, on increased energy intake as a result of sleep deprivation.

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“Remarkably, researchers found that those deprived of sleep eat an average of 385 additional calories each day, compared to their usual take.”

This means for a slimmer trying to shed the pounds, sleep deprivation can actually put you out of your calorie deficit, meaning you’re likely to maintain your weight.

However getting enough sleep is easier said than done due to so many people living busy lives. 

According to Dr Mosley, there are certain foods that can be eaten for dinner or in the evening to help you sleep better.

He said: “Mediterranean diets increase the good bacteria in our guts and essentially make us feel good through the production of serotonin.”

Serotonin turns into melatonin in the evenings, which is the hormone responsible for sleep.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in oily fish, vegetables, legume and olive oil. 

Studies have shown it has strong links to weight loss as it is rich in protein and healthy fats.

What’s more, eating a food high in fibre is also thought to help improve sleep, which over time, could help you lose weight. 

Michael added: “By eating a diverse range of whole foods, correlates with better quality of sleep, as recognised by numerous studies.”

There are also a number of other ways to help with weight loss, such as intermittent fasting.

The expert went on: “It’s not only food that helps you sleep but your eating habits too. Time Restricted Eating (TRE) plays an important role in The Fast 800 with many members choosing to incorporate it into their routine, with the support of our expert health coaches.

“TRE consists of reducing your eating window to 10-12 hours each day and fast for the remainder, giving your body time to run down glucose stores, rest and repair.

“By practising TRE, it’s likely you’ll have finished eating your last meal a few hours before going to bed.”

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