Sometimes intense – or chronic – fatigue is associated with weight gain. Sleep is an essential part of the body’s cycle and a lack of sleep can disrupt it in several ways. Is there a real link between weight gain and fatigue?
How does tiredness impact weight gain?
Weight gain and fatigue are both managed by the brain but when you’re tired, the part of the brain responsible for feeling hungry becomes active. Also, when you are tired, you are more easily guided towards richer, and therefore more caloric, foods.
Fatigue is usually accompanied by a lack of physical activity, so your body has reserves that it does not spend. This creates storage in the fat cells of the hypodermis – the adipocytes – as an energy reserve. The body’s regulatory system no longer functions properly, and caloric intake becomes more important (1).
Rich foods are comfort foods that reassure. They are the foods you most often turn to when you are looking for comfort. Associated by the body with this feeling of fullness and comfort, they are what we call “wellness” foods for the body.
In the case of fatigue, the body expresses its need for comfort by looking for these caloric foods, giving a feeling of envy.
Lack of sleep and satiety
Along with the sensation of hunger comes another essential sensation: satiety. This allows you to know when your body no longer needs to eat. This feeling is, like hunger and like regulating hormones, out of control. Weight gain and fatigue therefore almost inevitably go hand in hand. The need and desire to consume richer products than usual, the desire to eat more and the lack of satiety play in favor of weight gain.
Sleep only rests on the body. The body needs it to work and activate certain substances and to rebalance itself. The hunger hormone, ghrelin, is only regulated during sleep, as is leptin, the satiety hormone. If you have bad nights, if you sleep badly, these hormones will not work or will work less effectively. In the long term, it is the whole body that will feel the effects and it is through weight gain that you will notice the first damage (2).
Fatigue decreases physical activity
The last important point in weight gain and fatigue is physical activity. Or rather, lack of activity. Indeed, when you are tired, you are less inclined to move, to do sports, to practice any activity. You become more sedentary.
Being active not only for good health but also to maintain a stable weight, is a proven fact.
Reduced sleep or the quality of sleep and all that it causes in the body contributes to eating more while moving less. Thus, it is the whole body that is disrupted in the long term. The foundations of good health are no longer present once a lack of sleep sets in. The diet is less healthy and more caloric, physical activity is restricted and the body’s regulatory system is deficient.
All factors are therefore present to link weight gain and fatigue. To lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, it is essential to sleep well. Sleep is the source of all the elements essential to the proper functioning of the body.
Also read: How stress can cause weight gain?