Lack of Sleep, a Cause of Overweight and Obesity

Sleep deprivation is believed the cause of being drowsy and slow-witted. Moreover, according to a recent research of Columbia University’s New York Obesity Research Center, it may also spur your appetite.

Picture: rodale.com

The study shows that people tend to eat more calories on the following day after sleeping for only four hours when they get a good night’s sleep, especially toward women. The research’s findings give explanation for the connection between the lack of sleep an overweight that has been shown in previous studies.

– After having short sleep-four hours, people tend to consume more calories.
– Overweight people often have sleep problems.
– Sleep-deprived people have more weight issues.

Traditionally, it is believed that overweight people often have sleep problems . It is obvious that a breathing disorder may cause frequent awakenings but the answer for the question if they’re overweight because of their sleep problems, or overweight results in their sleep problems is still unclear.

However, this research included only normal-weight people and accordingly eliminated the influence of existing overweight or obesity. It may be step for the answer of the “chicken-or-the-egg question” question although the study’s small size may make it impossible to draw any firms conclusions.

The study was conducted on 13 male and 13 female volunteers between the ages of 30 and 45 who have normal weight and are healthy sleepers. All participants spent two six-day stints under close supervision in a sleep lab. During the first stint, all could sleep up to nine hours per night. And during the other, they were allowed to sleep just four hours and not to leave the lab nor to take any naps.

For the first four days of the study, a fixed diet of cereal and milk in the morning and frozen entrées for lunch and dinner are served. Then, on the last two days of the study, they could take shopping and eat anything they watt but with clearly marked nutritional content so that the researchers could properly measure it.

As a result, on short sleep, both men and women chose more protein-rich foods for their meals but only women ate more fat. No matter how much men sleep, they ate the same amount of fat while the women consumed 31 more grams of fat on average after sleeping for four hours.

The research suggests that the lack of sleep in a long time could cause unhealthy consequences. Regularly eating an extra 300 calories a day would add up to about 30 pounds of weight gain over the course of a year, may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses in addition to overweight and obesity.

The study offers one more data point that when people lack sleep, they have more weight issues. And the researchers hope that “ if we understand the problem better, we’ll be better able to fix the problem.”


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