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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The obese population in America has grown during the last century. During these years as well, American’s have been sleeping less. Cross sectional studies show that there is a correlation of the two factors, and indeed find a greater number of overweight individuals amongst the sleep-deprived population. Though they are unclear, studies attempt to establish possible mechanisms through which weight gain occurs. Results of studies show that sleep deprivation may influence leptin and ghrelin levels, which can cause hunger, and excessive caloric intake. Sleep-deprived individuals also have an increased opportunity to eat during the wakeful nighttime hours. In the sleep-restricted state, activity levels may decrease, and though the extra hours spent awake also cause a small increase in energy expenditure, there is overcompensation in energy intake, leading to weight gain. Obstructive Sleep Apnea also plays a role in obese individuals’ sleep patterns, and may lead to further weight gain. Without excessive caloric intake it may be possible to maintain weight in the sleep-deprived state. This paper will review a number of studies and give an overview of some of the possible methods though which sleep-deprivation causes obesity.

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