Can Lack of Sleep Stunt Your Growth?

My mom says if you stay up all night and don't get any rest you can stunt your growth. Is this true?
– Damien

It could be. A single night of no sleep will not stunt growth. But over the long term, a person's growth may be affected by not getting the full amount of sleep. That's because growth hormone is normally released during sleep. If someone consistently gets too little sleep (known as "sleep deprivation"), growth hormone is suppressed.

Lack of sleep also can affect other hormones. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity and diabetes. Experts are looking into whether this link has to do with hormonal changes.

So in this case your mom may be right. Getting enough sleep also will help you focus better in school and give you more energy and better concentration for sports and other activities.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2010

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