Several studies have found that sleep-deprived adults are more likely to be overweight than those who are able to achieve a restful night of sleep.  One recent study followed 7,332 men and women, ages 60 and over, for seven years.  After adjusting for confounding factors, the team found that approximately one-third of women with frequent sleep problems gained at least 11 pounds, but waking up tired was unassociated with weight gain.  A study published in the journal "Sleep" (2010) examined sleep and weight gain in over 35,000 employees of a Japanese electric power company. The study found that men who slept five or less hours a night were twice as likely to experience weight gain as those who slept seven to eight hours a night. Too much sleep also affected weight: Men sleeping more than nine hours a night were 1.4 times more likely to gain weight over the course of the study when compared to men who slept seven to eight hours. Other studies suggest the relationship between lack of sleep and weight gain also affects women. According to a 2006 study from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, women who slept less than five hours a night were 32 percent more likely to gain 33 pounds or more over the 16-year study period than women who slept at least seven hours a night. Lack of sleep lowers levels of leptin, a protein that regulates and controls appetite. Low leptin levels may increase appetite, leading to weight gain. Leptin is lowered when sleep is consistently less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours of sleep per night. That is the key. Studies show, appetite may also be affected by the mind's reaction to both sleepiness and hunger. The two conditions cause similar psychological sensations. People that consistently get less sleep over time, have lower energy levels and tend to take in more calories to keep themselves awake and help them increase their energy. A better strategy would be to take a nap and sleep rather than eat. A long-term resolution is to get at least 6 hours of sleep but not too much more than 8 hours per night to avoid the weight gain. Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist