Sleep More, Weigh Less

We’ve covered the “Dream Diet” before, and it’s one that we actually recommend and follow! Woman Sleeping

This week, researchers at Columbia University presented new findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions that shows zzzz-deprived men and women eat, on average, some 300 calories more a day.

The researchers studied 26 normal-weight men and women who routinely slept a normal 7-9 hours a night.  The subjects then went to Columbia’s sleep center and had to sleep in the lab for six nights on two separate occasions—with one time getting nine hours of sleep and the other, only four hours.   The researchers then provided meals or let the subjects eat whatever they wanted.

What’s more, the researchers found that women may be more sensitive to sleep deprivation compared to men.  The women in the study ate 329 more calories a day compared to what they ate when they had the typical amount of sleep and men ate 263 more calories. And the women craved and ate more unhealthy comfort foods (read: high-cal, high-fat, high-sugar) like sweet desserts,  ice cream and fast food.

An extra 300 calories a day equals 2100 calories a week and that equals more than a half-pound weight gain per week.  As you can see, being sleep-deprived can make the pounds pile on if you do it for extended periods of time. And, unfortunately, we can’t hibernate and sleep off the fat that we’ve gained.

Why Being Sleepy Makes Us Hungrier?

Studies suggest that sleep-deprivation disrupts the normal hunger and fullness hormones—ghrelin and leptin—causing a rise in ghrelin and a drop in leptin. That’s a wicked combination for hunger management.  Other studies suggest that lack of sleep may  disturb hormones that control our blood-sugar responses to food, making us have stronger cravings for carbs.

No matter the reason, trying to get adequate sleep every night is one of the best things you can do for waist management.



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