What does lack of sleep has to do with belly fat?

Can you imagine that the quality of your sleep could have anything to do with increasing belly fat? Well, there’s more to it than we imagine… Let’s see what the connection between the two could be:

In a small number of sleep deprivation experiments in healthy people, an association was found between sleep deprivation and abdominal obesity.

Dr. Naima Covassin of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues enrolled 12 healthy non-obese volunteers aged 19 to 39 years in a randomized controlled trial in which one group had controlled sleep restriction (2 weeks of 4 hours of sleep), the other “received” controlled normal sleep (9 hours of sleep per night). In the study, participants’ calorie intake was monitored, and their energy expenditure was tracked with an accelerometer.

The study found that in addition to reduced sleep time

  1. participants ate an average of 308 calories more per day than their peers with controlled sleep,
  2. translated into a weight gain of 0.5 kg, it also led to an increase in visceral adipose tissue of about 11% (7.8 cm2).

The distribution of belly fat was assessed using CT scans on days 1 and 18 of the study.

Those who received sleep deprivation increased their body weight by about 0.5 kg by the end of 2 weeks and saw a significant increase in adipose tissue in the abdomen area, especially inside the abdomen (visceral fat).

Based on the findings, the researchers hypothesize that there is some biochemical message in the body that continues to send fat to the visceral part after sleep deprivation is over. Thus, the effects of periods of insufficient sleep, accumulating over the years, result in abdominal type obesity.

The study found that sleep deprivation alters the “pathway” of fat in the body, i.e. fat is placed in the wrong place. In addition, it has been found that if a short-term sleep disorder does not significantly increase body weight, sleep disturbance results in fat storage disorders and can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and unhealthy body composition (visceral fat mass).


Good sleep hygiene is a basic condition for a lifestyle change and achieving the desired body composition (i.e. weight loss). Without it, it is truly challenging to achieve your dream shape!

Should you need any assistance with changing your lifestyle, feel free to contact www.inshape-diet.com.

Sleep Deprivation Sends Fat to the Belly, Richard Mark Kirkner, March 28, 2022