Trying to lose some weight? Check your sleeping habits, because there is a possible connection between sleep and weight gain.
Sleep Less, Eat More
The most current research looking at this issue comes in the August edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showing the results of a study that examined peoples’ sleeping habits and what and how much food they consumed.
The study’s participants were between the ages of 30 and 49, of normal body weight and normally slept between seven and nine hours each night.
But for the next five days and in random order they were either assigned to only get 4 h sleep a night or their normal amount. During the first four days it was also controlled how much food they received to eat, while during the last day they were allowed to indulge themselves in whatever and how much of it they wanted.
The results show that when sleep-deprived, these people consumed about 300 kcal more than when they had enough sleep.
The study’s authors note that this increased energy consumption doesn’t go hand in hand with increased activity and therefore may predispose people to obesity.
More Scientific Evidence
It was not the first study to report a possible connection. Another was conducted with young men and looked at their eating and exercise habits.
Similar to the previous study, they were allowed to sleep for a full eight hours on the first two and then for just four hours on the third and fourth night.When not having had enough sleep, the men on average ate 560 calories more (PDF).
A third study examined people who had participated in a Finnish survey 5 – 7 years before and how their weight and sleeping patterns related to one another after this time. The results showed that women who had trouble falling asleep or who woke up frequently at night were much more likely to experience weight gain of 11 lbs ( 5 kg) or more.
Tilting At Windmills
When it comes to fighting obesity we have seen a lot of notions in the last years and some may have been less than worthwhile. The fight against school chocolate milk being one of those that come to my mind here.
If may be more worthwhile to stay a bit with the obvious, especially when the obvious has some strong evidence behind it; a 2005 survey done by the National Sleep Foundation found that 74% of Americans weren’t getting enough sleep.