Do you often find yourself unable to fall asleep at night ? Then you most definitely need help because research has shown that lack of sleep has a detrimental effect to how much calories you consume.
You must have noticed by now that the less time you were sleeping the previous night, the hungrier you are the next day. And current research confirms this. What people fail to realize is how much more they are consuming and it’s usually a lot more than they think.
In a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists wanted to know how much surplus calories were consumed by those who weren’t sleeping enough. Sleep has become the third pillar of mainstream fitness along with healthy eating and exercise, but what many fail to notice is that it has a tremendous effect on weight maintenance and weight loss. Research has already proven that lack of sleep is related to obesity and Diabetes Type II, yet its effect on caloric intake has not been fully examined and it seems that it is a big one.
Several previous studies have been examined that were researching the correlation between partial sleep deprivation and calorie consumption. In the studies’ context, partial meant that people weren’t sleeping for a part of the night, not the whole night. The partial deprivation could have an effect on both the sleep quality and quantity.
The studies were done on 170 participants aged 18 to 50 of both genders who had a normal weight, overweight and obese. All studies had a control group consisting of people who were sleeping enough, like 7 to 12 hours a night and those who weren’t and were only sleeping 3 to 5 hours a night.
It was found that those deprived of sleep consumed around 380 extra calories per day, the amount found in four slices of bread. If we put it in another context, that amount is about a fifth of the energy requirements of a 30-year-old woman who is moderately active. What’s even more interesting is that people tended to consume more fat and less protein. Carb intake stayed relatively the same.
Some researchers think that sleep deprivation is capable of affecting hormones that are in charge of hunger regulation like ghrelin and leptin. However, others disagree and say that the over-consumption is simply because those who are tired are eating more because they seek pleasure and relief. They get the urge to binge on food since they are much more nervous and can’t simply calm their anxiety by eating.
Unfortunately, researchers have also found that staying up late doesn’t burn extra calories, which means that a lack of sleep can greatly increase weight gain in the long term. However, neither one of those studies lasted more than two weeks which makes it impossible to find out if the extra calories will add extra pounds too.
Research methods are improving all the time and scientists are now doing a study with participants who are sleep deprived on a daily basis. Also, research is also delving into the connection between sleep deprivation and obesity and other potential cardio-metabolic illnesses like diabetes, especially if we consider that modern people are sleeping less every passing year.