Short sleep causes overeating
A short night of sleep won’t have you reaching only for an extra cup of coffee. Research from the University of Colorado Boulder found that people who sleep only five hours per night are more likely to overeat during the day.
For the study, researchers allowed one group of volunteers to sleep for five hours a night and another group to sleep for nine hours for five days. Both groups had unlimited access to food during the day. After the five days, the groups switched sleep schedules and were studied for five more days.
According to the results, the volunteers burned about 5 percent more calories when they slept only five hours, but also consumed 6 percent more calories than they did on a normal sleep schedule. While on a restricted sleep schedule, the volunteers tended to eat a smaller breakfast, but were more likely to snack in the evening. Often, the total number of calories the sleep-deprived group consumed after meals was more than the number of calories in any one of their meals during the day. By the end of the week, those who only slept five hours gained almost two pounds.
According to the study authors, the findings suggest two things: First, that nighttime eating often leads to weight gain, and people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to snack at night. Second, that weight loss programs should encourage participants to get enough sleep.