Can a lack of catching Zzzs really undermine your weight loss efforts? The short answer: yes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night, and ample research suggests that if you skimp on that amount, you may become victim to an expanding waistline.
A study by the European Society of Endocrinology revealed that losing sleep messes up your hormonal balance, giving hormones that promote satiety, such as GLP-1, the red light — while hunger-promoting hormones like ghrelin get the green. In turn, tired folks are more likely to choose caloric bombs for lunch, experience more food-derived pleasure, and remain more sedentary than their well-rested counterparts. What’s more, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived people gobbled up about 385 more calories per day. (To put this into perspective, eating an extra 385 calories can result in gaining over a pound in just 10 days!)
“The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance. So there may be some truth in the saying ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise,’” Dr. Gerda Pot, senior author from the Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s College London and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, clarified.
In simple terms, it’s likely that you’re too tired to choose the salad over the salami sub. But if your hectic schedule doesn’t allow you to hit the hay for as long as you’d like (we feel for you, soccer moms and CEOs!), there is a simple solution.
A 2017 South Korean study published in the journal Sleep discovered that sleeping in on the weekends is linked to a lower body weight. “Short sleep, usually causing sleep debt, is common and inevitable in many cases, and is a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, coronary heart disease, as well as mortality,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Chang-Ho Yun of the Seoul National University Budang Hospital, told Reuters Health. You know what else can help you quit counting sheep? These 8 Expert Tricks To Fall Asleep Fast.