Emerging evidence has identified sleep as a significant, but modifiable, risk factor for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. Leptin, an adipocyte-derived peptide and a regulator of food intake and energy expenditure, has been shown to be associated with a short sleep duration in the pathophysiology of obesity and consequently type 2 diabetes. This review focuses on the current evidence indicating the effects of a short sleep duration on the regulation of leptin concentration in association with obesity and diabetes mellitus. In summary, the evidence suggests that sleep deprivation, by affecting leptin regulation, may lead to obesity and consequently development of type 2 diabetes through increased appetite and food intake. However, findings on the role of leptin in diabetes due to sleep deprivation are contradictory, and further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm previous findings.