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Links Between Weight Gain And Lack Of Sleep


Yet another reason to get your sleep. A new study discovers a link between weight gain and lack of sleep, finding that if you're sleep deprived you'll eat more calories than usual, and this can cause you to gain weight rather quickly.

Researchers compared subjects who slept for as long as they wished to those who were allowed only 65% of their normal sleeping time and found that being deprived of sleep was associated with an intake of more calories. Up to an additional 549 calories each day according to the study.

Over a week, this adds up to around a pound in weight, though experts don't know how long the increased calorie intake continues. The latest study lasted only eight days.

The team examined 17 subjects; both men and women aged 18 to 40 who did not have any sleep disorders. The subjects wore a watch-sized device known as an actigraph that kept track of their sleep patterns for three nights, and the team measured how much time the person spent sleeping.

Next came the 8 day study, which took place in the sleep lab, subjects were assigned at random to either sleep for as long as they wished, or to be allowed only 65% of their usual sleep time. At home, the average sleep time for the subjects was six and half hours per night.

During the time in the sleep lab, the sleep deprivation group got an average of 5.2 hours, while the others continued to sleep that 6.5 hours per night. Food consumption was logged during the study, and participants could eat all they liked

Turns out that while the group that was sleep-deprived ate the 549 extra calories each day, the control group ate almost 143 fewer calories a day than they usually did.

The researchers also tracked how active the participants were. You might think that if you're awake longer, you're more active. This wasn't so. The sleep-deprived subjects didn't show a great deal of difference in activity compared to those who slept all they wanted.

Sleep deprivation was also associated with increased levels of leptin, a hormone that signals the brain you're full, and slightly reduced levels of the hormone ghrelin that signals hunger. The team expected the opposite result - lack of sleep would lower leptin and make ghrelin go up. That would account for people feeling hungrier and less satisfied. The changes found in the research were slight and might well be a consequence, instead of a cause, of consuming those extra calories.

These findings support earlier studies showing lack of sleep is associated with gaining weight and being obese, in both children and adults. But the link between lack of sleep and extra calorie intake may be far more complex than anyone thought.

Your best bet, especially if you are trying to stay at a healthy weight or to lose some weight, is to get enough sleep for your needs. Start with the National Sleep Foundation guideline of from 7 to 9 hours a night and see how this works for you.

The findings on the relationship between weight gain and lack of sleep were presented a medical conference, so for the moment the results are considered preliminary until they undergone a peer review process.
Links Between Weight Gain And Lack Of Sleep Reviewed by Mark Martinez on 5:52:00 PM Rating: 5

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