Sleep Deprivation Linked to Belly Fat Increase

The experiment showed an average 1 kg weight increase after 13 days of staying up late. (Photo via

Insufficient sleep leads to fatigue, reduced concentration, and increased visceral fat. Less than 7 hours of sleep results in 12 grams visceral fat gain per hour, contributing to a larger abdomen.

Taipei, Taiwan (WS News Publisher) – What is the duration of your daily sleep? Studies have found that too little sleep time not only leads to poor energy during the day and inability to concentrate, but it may also lead to increased visceral fat and a belly shape. Scientists analyzed the data of more than 5,000 adults and found that for those who sleep less than seven hours on average, for every hour of sleep lost, the total amount of visceral fat will increase by 12 grams. In the long run, fat will accumulate in the abdomen, they will turn into a big-belly man or a big-belly woman.

The participants in this experiment, half male and half female, with an average age of 37, sleep time between 1 and 12 hours a day. The data are compiled from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The reason why this survey has received more attention is because visceral fat is more harmful to health. It will increase fatty acids, affect blood fat, increase the probability of cardiovascular disease, and affect the health of the liver.

A study published in 2022 by the famous Mayo Clinic in the United States found that even for healthy subjects, regardless of their actual age and body size, as long as the sleep time is reduced, the daily calorie intake will increase, the weight will increase, and the fat around the abdomen will accumulate. The results showed that too little sleep was associated with a 9 percent increase in total belly fat and an 11 percent increase in visceral fat.

This study mainly explores that under the condition of restricted sleep time, the subjects can eat freely during the test period to observe their weight gain and fat accumulation. The research subjects were 12 healthy adults who were randomly divided into the experimental group who only slept for 4 hours a day and the control group who slept normally for 9 hours a day. A 21-day sleep time test is carried out first, and various indicators are tested at the same time. Then return to daily life for 3 months, and then change the group to test for 21 days.

During the test, it was found that the experimental group with shorter sleep time consumed at least 300 more calories per day than the control group, of which 17% of the calories came from fat and 13% from protein. In the case of shortened sleep time, the increased fat accumulation is not mainly in the epidermis or subcutaneous but is converted into harmful abdominal fat. The study also found that even after increasing sleep time, reducing calorie intake, and reducing body weight, visceral fat continued to increase. It can be seen that insufficient sleep time is one of the risk factors for hyperlipidemia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and metabolism.

According to research by Dr. Matthew P. Walker of Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, lack of sleep can affect brain activity and reduce our ability to restrain impulsive appetite. And people prefer to choose high-calorie foods to replenish their strength, so they will take in more calories than usual when they stay up late. Those who got enough sleep had little difference in their eating preferences in the middle of the night.

Dr. Walker’s experiments calculated that subjects would consume an average of 600 calories more per day by staying up late, so staying up late for 13 days would increase their weight by 1 kilogram. If you are in a state of lack of sleep every day, you will gain 2.3 kilograms in a month, which is quite amazing. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also mentioned that if you cut your sleep time in half, you would consume an average of 22% more calories the next day.

In addition to increasing the intake of visceral fat and a high-calorie diet, staying up late will also affect the activity regulation function of the brain. Such as reducing leptin, which suppresses appetite, and increasing ghrelin. Ghrelin releases eating signals to the brain, making us want to eat more. Changes in brain function can also lead to insulin resistance, leading to increased visceral fat, and a risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.

Therefore, we must not underestimate the impact of insufficient sleep time on health, because it will not only cause weight problems but also evolve into various chronic diseases. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults over the age of 18 get between seven and nine hours of sleep per day. Teenagers ages 10 to 17 should get 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep. Children under the age of 10 should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Only when you have enough sleep time will you not become a big belly, which is also an important way to maintain your health.

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