It’s a sad fact, but being sleep deprived may lead to greater appetite and unwanted weight gain. New studies have shown that a lack of sleep affects the timing of the release of specific hormones, namely ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin and leptin work in a “checks and balances” type of system to control feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates appetite, while leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a ‘stop eating’ signal to the brain when you are full. When you are sleep deprived, leptin levels are driven down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat. Sleep deprivation also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. The combination of the two sets the stage for overeating, which in turn, may lead to weight gain. So, in short, get the sleep that you need if you want to lose weight.