They have always told us that a good night's rest is linked to your weight, but now there is a new study that shows exactly how a lack of sleep affects your appetite. As expected, the results are not great. Those who don't get enough sleep tend to eat a significant amount more.
The study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, with results showing that sleep-deprived people eat hundreds more calories than people who have had enough sleep.
172 people participated in 11 different studies. Some participants were part of the experimental group that was kept awake, and the others were allowed to sleep. The amount of food they ate was tracked for 24 hours. Those who were more tired averaged an extra 384 calories over their usual intake of calories. Not only did they eat more, but the extra calories they consumed usually came from foods high in both fat and protein.
The researchers have not given a definitive answer as to how this lack of sleep really affects the body's desire to eat. There have been several proposed theories, include one that found a sleep-deprived brain responds more to pictures of foods that inspire cravings. It also suggests that as their exhaustion grows, the ability to make careful decisions lowers, so they are more likely to pick unhealthy snacks.
Another study found that the hormones in your brain are affected by a lack of sleep, which leads to a bigger appetite.
What ever the result is, it is obviously important to get enough sleep! There are a lot of factors that contribute to maintaining a healthy weight, so they haven't made us a magic cure-all formula yet. Maybe one day! For now, go to bed early and watch how many fatty snacks you are eating!