Research carried out at Pennsylvania State University looked at reports published between 1996 and 2011 to determine the role of partial sleep deprivation on weight management.
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, pointed to figures that show over 35 per cent of US adults are obese and more than 28 per cent achieve less than six hours' sleep each night.
Scientists analysing the data spanning 15 years took into account energy intake, energy expenditure and measurements of the hormones ghrelin, leptin, insulin, glucose and cortisol to draw up their conclusions.
Reduced insulin sensitivity was identified among those who were partially sleep deprived, as well as increases in ghrelin and declines in leptin, which influenced participants' energy intake.
Dr Sharon Nickols-Richardson, lead investigator of the study, said: "Changes in these hormones coinciding with an energy-reduced diet paired with changes in response to partial sleep deprivation may be expected to increase ghrelin and decrease leptin concentrations even further to promote hunger."
This indicates that people who do not get enough sleep may feel hungrier than their well-slept counterparts, with the paper calling for further research to clarify the relationship between sleep deprivation and weight management.
Recent research highlighted by the NHS shows that 26 per cent of adults in England are obese, as well as one in seven children.
Furthermore, about one in five people have trouble sleeping, with conditions like insomnia, sleep apnoea, depression and illness all impacting on the nation's sleep pattern.
It is recommended that Britons get between six and eight hours of sleep per night, with those in their 70s and above likely to require less than six hours.