If you sleep less than the recommended hours, according to your age, it can negatively affect you the next day in many ways, like decreasing your productivity levels, lowering your energy, making you more irritable, and even predisposing you to argue with others, especially your partner. And now we have to add possible weight gain on top of that list. Research conducted by the King’s College of London and Vrije University of Amsterdam in 2016 found that partial sleep deprivationis associated with consuming more calories the following day.
The research analyzed 11 studies that examined the link between lack of sleep and weight gain. They included a total of 172 participants. In all of them, some participants were deprived of sleep for up to 2 weeks, and others were not. After that time, their calorie intake was counted. In the 11 studies, most sleep-deprived participants consumed an average of 385 more calories than those who weren’t sleep-deprived. Though these were studies that examined the results of lack of sleep for a 2-week period, scientists believe that if prolonged, the effect and calories could add up.
Participants also picked different foods to eat than on their “good sleep” days, most of the time in the form of fatty foods. They also ate less protein-packed foods. Interestingly enough, the amount of carbs they consumed was mostly the same. You know what also stayed the same? Their activity levels. This means that if we don’t get enough sleep, and then eat extra calories without burning more, we gain weight. It’s simple math.
Researchers believe that, as one study suggests, a lack of sleep messes with our hunger and satiety hormones. However, other research suggests that it may also disrupt the area of our brain associated with motivation and reward, so after a bad night and with less energy, we just want yummy instantly rewarding food and not the stress to look for it or prep it. But the consequences of a bad night sleep aren’t done there.
Another study found that if people didn’t get enough sleep, the next day they picked different foods than what they usually eat and most of the time they chose fatty foods. When people eat fatty foods like hamburgers and fried chicken, they have more trouble falling asleep and getting a good night’s sleep, which, in turn, makes them select fatty foods, adding extra calories. This will again impact their rest, and create a cycle of poor sleep — which is where unhealthy eating begins.
Not resting enough can lead you to an unhealthy cycle, so beware not to fall into it. How do you think lack of sleep affects you personally? Do you have any tricks to improve the community’s sleeping habits? Have your say in the comment section!