5

votes

Decreased sleep=increased calories?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 02, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I've had exactly one week of little to no sleep every night, and, between my moments of delirium, I am noticing a correlation between the nights when sleep is the worst, and mornings /days when I am the most hungry. Usually I have no interest in food until 11 or so, today I was starving by 8.

Do our bodies compensate for lack of rest with an increased calorie need?

(FWIW, this sleep deprivation is not a choice; I have a screaming-teething infant and a toddler with nightmares)

Clarification: I should have been more specific, bu this is actual hunger, not just a desire to eat. If anything, my enjoyment and desire for food has decreased.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on May 03, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Try Natural Calm. Robb Wolf swears by it.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on April 13, 2010
at 08:40 PM

Yeah, the increased breastfeeding seems to be the kicker. Now (a couple of weeks after writing this question) he is still waking me up all night ling, but isn't nursing every time, and my appetite seems to have stabalized. Good thing, too! Couldn't handle a bigger grocery bill! ;)

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11488)

on April 13, 2010
at 07:32 PM

@MamaJ, if you're breast-feeding your screaming baby at night, it could be increasing metabolic demands and making you more hungry in the morning. If you're losing more weight than you want to, you may need to add back some carbs to your diet.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 03, 2010
at 10:56 AM

I started waking very early when I went LC. Apparently, a small dose of carb in the evening can resolve this (it was discussed over in the comments at wholehealthsource). Carbss raise serotonin levels, so it would make sense. You needn't switch to a HC diet to get the benefits (indeed this would be counter-productive in the long-run), less than 50g should be enough. When I looked up early waking, all I could find was that 'terminal/late insomnia' suggests clinical depression. If you're suffering from anxiety you might want to consider topping up on some relaxing omega-3, magnesium etc.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 03, 2010
at 06:24 AM

Here's a great article to support this answer: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/09/health/webmd/main654548.shtml

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086

on April 02, 2010
at 04:51 PM

I've noticed this too, but I doubt it's a "real" effect. Unless, merely by being awake more hours of the day you burn more calories, or something. I'm guessing it's your body's failing effort to recoup lost energy. I'll be interested to look at the answers.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on April 02, 2010
at 04:24 PM

Thanks! It's been interesting, because since going Paleo I haven't felt the need to comfort-eat at all, and this really doesn't seem like that. I've also lost weight in the last week (not on purpose) while eating more, and that's what got me thinking about whether or not my body was just burning more. Thanks for the understanding, and for the reminder that it will get better!

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7 Answers

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7
A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 03, 2010
at 06:33 AM

The less sleep you get, the lower your leptin levels, the hungrier you think you are, according to this CBS article.

During periods of sleep deprivation, "low leptin levels tell the brain there is a shortage of food and increase appetite," van Cauter tells WebMD. "When leptin levels are higher, satiety levels are higher, which tells the brain that the body is getting enough food."

However, if you eat to satiety during this period of sleep deprivation, you'll throw off other hormones that regulate other important functions and potentially worsen the sleep deprivation and throw yourself into a bad cycle. Also, eating more than necessary will delay the onset of sleep hormones because your body will be busy digesting instead of preparing for sleep.

My suggestion is to eat just a bit more for breakfast (perhaps increase the fats) but keep lunch and dinner the same as when you get enough sleep.

5
D15d6820ef1545edac65e975cc2d8949

on April 02, 2010
at 03:47 PM

Yeah. I think it's mainly through the hormone leptin signaling satiety.

I can definitely notice a difference: if I get to sleep >10h, I can get by with 75% of my usual intake. And contrary, 150% (guesstimate) when I get too little sleep.

There's a similar pattern for me comparing winter and summer. (of which we have about four weeks here in Sweden...)

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 03, 2010
at 06:24 AM

Here's a great article to support this answer: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/09/health/webmd/main654548.shtml

3
D628a7339e8567f7246fc0cf652acacf

on April 13, 2010
at 06:08 PM

As someone who practices polyphasic sleeping, I can answer with a definite yes. The more you're awake, the more you'll need to eat (and drink).

I strongly recommend you pick a few convenient times to take 20 minute naps. If you take them at the same time each day, you will begin to get better and better sleep during them.

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 02, 2010
at 05:33 PM

When I had undiagnosed sleep apnea and wasn't sleeping well, I craved carby foods every evening. I had a case of what I call the 'mindless munchies' and as I was on the computer and watching TV in the evening after supper I would munch on chips, cookies, or popcorn.

I was told that by not sleeping properly your body doesn't produce enough serotonin and it seems to think it can create some from carby foods, making you crave them. I lost quite a lot of weight on a low carb diet and the apnea vastly improved.

So I think there can be a direct link between lack of sleep and subsequent food cravings.

2
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on April 02, 2010
at 04:20 PM

I don't know about anything that extreme but I've noticed that when I get too little sleep - say, less than 5 hours - I have a hard time controlling my food intake the following day. I feel that for me it's not so much hunger as lack of self-control.

I hope your situation settles down. That is very stressful. I remember times like that when my kids were small but I don't remember it going on for a whole week. Hang in there.

9dce97b4c4762a78a577a11585eef8f2

(1239)

on April 02, 2010
at 04:24 PM

Thanks! It's been interesting, because since going Paleo I haven't felt the need to comfort-eat at all, and this really doesn't seem like that. I've also lost weight in the last week (not on purpose) while eating more, and that's what got me thinking about whether or not my body was just burning more. Thanks for the understanding, and for the reminder that it will get better!

1
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 03, 2010
at 09:59 AM

I've definitely experienced this. I don't feel hungry at all, unless I've not slept properly (which is a frequent occurrence given that I have about 9 hours free between finishing work and getting up for work again).

I've also heard that sleep deprivation interferes with your insulin signalling and glucose metabolism, which I thought didn't quite explain matters, since I assumed (eating VLC) that there wouldn't be much insulin to be interfered with anyway. One other factor that I've noticed though is that when I don't sleep, I drink caffeine and caffeine can seriously increase appetite (by stimulating stomach acid etc), I also personally find that tannic foods aggravate my digestive system and make me crave food, but that just seems to be me.

0
8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on April 03, 2010
at 10:16 AM

I've also noticed this! I (for reasons unknown) have developed insomnia / anxiety in the past 10 years. I already get up at 4a.m. but I'll often wake up at 2:00 or so and not be able to go back to sleep.

Those mornings I've noticed that I will be starving - my stomach will even growl - as soon as I get up. Normally I don't get feelings of hunger.

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about the insomnia. :(

Anyone have a good, Paleo suggestion for how to get more sleep? I already go to bed at 8 p.m. sharp.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 03, 2010
at 10:56 AM

I started waking very early when I went LC. Apparently, a small dose of carb in the evening can resolve this (it was discussed over in the comments at wholehealthsource). Carbss raise serotonin levels, so it would make sense. You needn't switch to a HC diet to get the benefits (indeed this would be counter-productive in the long-run), less than 50g should be enough. When I looked up early waking, all I could find was that 'terminal/late insomnia' suggests clinical depression. If you're suffering from anxiety you might want to consider topping up on some relaxing omega-3, magnesium etc.

Ae011d9f1c8654ea66854ca2a977c397

(1165)

on May 03, 2010
at 08:27 PM

Try Natural Calm. Robb Wolf swears by it.

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