A new study on lack of sleep and eating by a professor at Mayo Clinic found that if you don’t get enough sleep, you also may eat too much — and thus be more likely to become obese.
The author tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity. Leptin and ghrelin are associated with appetite.
The researchers studied 17 normal, healthy young men and women for eight nights, with half of the participants sleeping normally and half sleeping only two-thirds their normal time.
Participants ate as much as they wanted during the study.
Researchers found that the sleep-deprived group, who slept 1 hour and 20 minutes less than the control group each day, consumed an average 549 additional calories each day. They also found that those who slept less didn’t burn additional calories.
Hannah Anderson with Via Christi Sleep Services says before you commit to a weight loss program, you should commit to getting more sleep.
“This study shows, without enough sleep your body’s hormonal levels change, boosting the probability of becoming obese,” Hannah said. “When we are tired, we tend to make poor food choices. In fact, in order to recharge and feel awake, we tend to reach for foods that are less than healthy: frappuccinos, carbohydrate-heavy foods, calorie-laden sodas, etc. Sleep is as essential to the basic well-being of your body as water and food. Make the time for enough sleep to live life fully.”