Are you gaining weight because you’re not sleeping enough? A new study suggests that there’s a tie between weight gain and not getting enough sleep.

Recent findings have shown that people eat a lot more food when they stay up late, and the foods they crave late at night tend to be pretty unhealthy. Individuals that get less sleep take in way more calories and have been shown to gain weight a lot faster than people who get a full eight hours each night.

Let’s review the facts and find out how more sleep might help you lose weight:


The Perlman School of Medicine’s Study

While there have been a number of sleep-related scientific studies over the years, this recent one is apparently the first of its kind to analyze sleep patterns and eating habits are related.

According to NBC News:

“Research over the years has produced similar findings, but the new Penn study is significant because it used 225 people. And because the research took place in a lab, scientists were able to control a variety of factors.”

In the study’s tests, certain subjects went to bed at 4am and got up at 8am the next morning. They were then allowed to eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

On average, the test subjects that experienced limited sleep ate about 550 calories more than the subjects who got a full night’s rest. They ate the extra calories after 11pm and after five straight nights of this limited sleep schedule, participants gained an average 2.2 pounds.

Scientists described the experiment as being a “logistics nightmare” but don’t seem to regret it, in light of the study’s findings.

Another interesting detail? It was almost immediately noticed that in this study, African-American men gained the most weight.

While doctors aren’t really sure as to why this might have been the case, they’re definitely sure that there has never been a race-related distinction in a study like this ever before.

A color photo of a young woman eating as she watches something on TV.

Studies have shown that the eating most people do late at night isn’t very healthy.

Why Does Low Sleep Lead to More Calories Consumed?

The study also examined why we have a tendency to eat more when we stay up late at night but doctors still aren’t exactly sure.

Scientists analyzed the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, however, they found that the body levels remained relatively constant in the study’s sleep-deprived participants.

One theory posits that by the end of the day, your willpower is essentially used up. There’s been a lot of study and writing about how the part of your brain that controls your willpower can get weakened as it’s used more and more.

At the end of the day, it’s entirely possible that people just decide to eat whatever they want and their willpower doesn’t stop them.


How Do YOU Keep Healthy at Night?

Are you a night-owl? Does insomnia make you eat? If you keep strange hours but still manage to be pretty healthy, or find that your hours throw off your diet, we want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.


See Also

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About The Author

Sean Boulger is a freelance writer and storytelling enthusiast living in LA. He loves television, pop culture, minimalism, and two cats.

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