Big Dreams

The Type of Sleep That Makes You Gain Weight

It’s not just the total number of calories you eat versus burn in a day that determines weight loss success. A new study by researchers at the University of Strasbourg shows that maintaining a regular, normal sleep pattern, sleeping during dark hours and waking during light hours, is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy weight. This proves to be a massive bummer for every actor/bartender out there. 

Individuals who experience shifts in natural daily rhythms—for example, night shifts, exposure to light from an artificial source at night, jet-lag, and nocturnal meals—are at high risk of excessive weight gain. That means this news also sucks for all the people who sleep in tanning beds and Spaniards who eat dinner at midnight.

Scientists had previously established that the “Rev-Erb alpha” gene controls our daily rhythm, or internal body clock. Disruptions to our natural daily rhythms impair this gene. And the new findings show that when this gene is impaired, it negatively affects the way we metabolize food. 
In the study, mice who lacked the Rev-Erb alpha gene created much more fat than normal mice, even though both groups ate the same amount of food at the same time. The mice without the Rev-Erb alpha gene also became obese and hyperglycemic. 

Well, we personally can’t wait to use the ole “Rev-Erb” excuse in lieu of “I’m too tired.” You know, “I can’t tonight, honey, I don’t want hyperglycemia.”  

Source: FASEB Journal (2012). Overweight? New research explains how proper sleep is important for healthy weight. EurekaAlert.  Retrieved from
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Sara E. Rosenquist, Ph.D., ABPP commented
This may be one new study, but the research has been around for quite a while. "Sleep restriction results in metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin and increased hunger and appetite. Altogether, the evidence points to a possible role of decreased sleep duration in the current epidemic of obesity." From: Leproult, R. and E. Van Cauter (2010). "Role of Sleep and Sleep Loss in Hormonal Release and Metabolism." Endocrine Development 17: 11-21.
Anonymous commented
Thanks for the insight Dr. Rosenquist. I'll have to get back on a sane sleeping schedule.