Here’s something that hopefully will not keep you awake at night. New study published in the journal Cell on the negative effects of irregular sleep patterns reveal that lack of sleep means weight gain.

The study surprised even the researchers after they found out that volatile sleep and eating patterns in mice and humans can lead to negative metabolic changes in the microorganisms found in their stomach. These changes are specifically associated with higher obesity rates, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and weaker immune system.

Belly Fat Weight Gain
Lose sleep and you’ll gain a few pounds, it’s that simple.

As it turned out metabolic disruption at the microbial level due to lack of sleep has big and profound effects even on humans. Health problems, obesity, heart disease, cancer and susceptibility to infection are not rare, and as the research found out one of the major contributory factors to them is very common as well.

The research also noted that lack of sleep can also affect hormonal fluctuations – another reason why losing weight becomes impossible. Stanford University research demonstrated that sleeping less than 7.7 hours a night creates an imbalance in your hormones, which makes you lose your ability to regulate appetite and feel insatiable hunger when you should not. When you are sleep deprived your satiation hormones become depressed. So even if you want to stop eating, you simply cannot. An at least 7.7 hours a day of regular sleep changes all that.

All of these studies show that sleep has direct relation to your eating patterns. Working in graveyard shift, doing school or work deadlines, frequent air travel that disrupts your perception of time and your body clock can all contribute to your lack of sleep. Of course there are a few other conditions that are simply a matter of personal discipline (or lack of) – these can all cause you to lose sleep and in turn get fat.