Dropping those few extra pounds that have miraculously found their way to you may be a real challenge. Sure, as we age, we become less active and maybe our diet isn’t the healthiest out there, but even if you do watch what you eat and exercise regularly, you may still be struggling with weight loss.
Well, researchers at King’s College found that sleep can play an important role in weight management, so if you’re not sleeping well that could be the reason why you’re a bit heavier.
Proper weight management is crucial for your health. Obesity, and even being overweight, has been linked to numerous conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among others. So if you’ve tried many different weight loss tricks to no avail, you may want to take a closer look at your sleeping habits.
The researchers found that sleep deprivation is linked with the intake of 385 additional calories a day, which is enough to put on extra pounds. Even though people in the study spent more time awake, they did not have more physical activity than people who had a good night’s sleep, so they didn’t burn any additional calories.
The researchers suspected that inadequate sleep affected the body’s hormones, meaning that people felt they needed to eat more in order to feel full. Those who slept for less than five hours a night consumed on average an additional 385 calories, compared to those who slept for seven hours. This is equivalent to eating an additional four and a half slices of bread.
Researcher Dr. Gerda Pot explained, “If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain. The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure, and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance.”
“Reduced sleep is one of the most common and potentially modifiable health risks in today’s society in which chronic sleep loss is becoming more common,” Dr. Pot added.
This isn’t the first study to examine the link between sleep and weight gain, as earlier studies also have uncovered the same results. The take-home message then is, if you want to better manage your weight, it’s important that you sleep between seven and eight hours a night. Finding ways to burn off additional calories throughout the day is also important.