According to a study from the University of Chicago, sleep deprivation can reduce fat cells sensitivity to insulin, which plays a major role in energy storage and use. This reduced insulin sensitivity can itself lead to a reduction in the production of the hunger regulation hormone leptin and an increase in the production in the hunger stimulation hormone ghrelin.
The results showed that after the sleep deprived period, the subjects response to insulin sensitivity had dropped by a whopping 30%. This decrease leads to an increase in blood lipids which can be a precursor for other health problems including Type II diabetes.
Along with increased lipids levels, the reduced insulin sensitivity also leads to reduction in the production of leptin, the hunger regulation hormone. This then can lead to an increase in calorie consumption and ultimately, weight gain.
With such dramatic changes in insulin sensitivity after just a four-day stint of sleep deprivation, its easy to see how prolonged sleep deprivation or poor sleep habits quickly can contribute to weight gain, obesity and a whole host of associated health problems.
Its recommended that an adult should average 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.