Your sleep deprivation could be leaving you more than just cranky. It could be causing you to gain weight! Weight isn't all about vanity either. Maintaining a proper weight is critical to your overall health. When you're at the proper weight, you lower the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
The National Sleep Foundation says the recomended sleep range for adults is 7-9 hours. Without enough sleep, your body isn't able to regulate key hormones that factor into the feeling of hunger and ability to feel full: ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin, aka the “hunger hormone”, works to regulate hunger and appetite. Leptin, aka the “satiety hormone” is the opposite of ghrelin and works to deter hunger. So, if these hormones could talk, ghrelin would say “I’m hungry… feed me NOW” and leptin would say “I’m full. Time to put the fork down”.
If these hormones aren't regulated properly, your body sends the wrong signals. When your body isn’t getting enough rest, it lowers the levels of leptin in your blood stream and increases the levels of ghrelin. This will cause your body to signal you're hungry, even when you're not or that you're still not full , when you really are, causing you to over eat and gain weight. In one study, people suffering from lack of sleep consumed 300 more calories per day than the group that was getting enough sleep. That could add up to 30 pounds in one year alone!
Not only does lack of sleep cause an imbalance in the hormones that control hunger signals, it has also been shown to drastically slow metabolism. This means your body will burn less calories throughout the day than if you had been getting enough sleep. So, combine heavier appetite, inability to tell when you're full and a lower metabolism?! That's just asking for some serious weight gain, which puts your entire body at risk for stroke, diabetes and even cancer.