Sleep deprivation has been shown to decrease appetite, food cravings, and food consumption – sounds like the perfect way to shed a few pounds sans the sweat of actual exercise. Unfortunately, it's not quite that easy.
In a new study (presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies), sleep restricted subjects still managed to gain weight over the course of the analysis, even though they ate less.
Researchers suggest that energy intake exceeded energy expenditure during the sleep restriction. In other words, if you’re exhausted, you’re probably not physically exerting yourself. Luckily for the well-rested control group, they resisted piling on the pounds. (Ps. I hope the study group was well compensated, I’d be pretty cross if I left the research lab feeling sleep deprived and looking dumpy).
Results indicate that even though physiologically the desire to eat was not increased by sleep loss, other factors such as the sedentary environment and the ability to snack for longer (due to reduction in time spent asleep) might have influenced weight gain. This study provides additional evidence that exercise, as well as what we eat, plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight.
Previous studies have highlighted the link between “waistline and bedtime,” with experts suggesting that sleeping less than 7-8 hours a day is associated with increased obesity and morbidity. However, up to 40% of Americans still aren’t getting enough z’s.
*If you have trouble winding down, turn off your TV. According to new research presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, television watching may contribute to chronic sleep debt.
Experts suggest “watching less television in the evening and postponing work start time in the morning appear to be the candidate behavioral changes for achieving additional sleep and reducing chronic sleep debt.” If you’re performance at work has been a little lack luster, take that gem of scientific trivia to your boss and see how it goes down!