Could lack of sleep be causing you to gain weight?
Think about it: If youâ€™re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family -- no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep.
Itâ€™s a vicious cycle, and eventually this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health
Sleep debt is like credit card debt.. â€œIf you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high interest rates or your account will be shut down until you pay it all off. If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.â€
Well, this is upsetting: Forty percent of Indians get just six hours of sleep or fewer per night. And groggy mornings and a cranky attitude aren't the only side effects of insufficient shut-eye, eitherâ€”missing out on sleep can also lead to weight gain. In fact, an analysis by researchers found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier, gain more weight over time, and have a harder time losing weight!
If you're trying to slim down or shape up, hitting the sack is just as important as sweating at the gym. These six reasons are your best excuses to hit the snooze button and get more sleep.
It Stops Late-Night Snacking
The longer youâ€™re awake, the more likely you are to consume calories you donâ€™t need, which can cause you to gain up to kgs a week. The researchers in the study believe that sleep restriction can lead to an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite.
It Helps You Burn More Calories
Not only do you have more energy to take on the day after a good nightâ€™s sleep, but your body also torches calories, even when youâ€™re not working out. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that normal sleepers' resting energy expenditureâ€”the amount of calories burned when youâ€™re not movingâ€”was five percent higher than their tired counterparts. They also burned 20 percent more calories after a meal versus sleep-deprived people.
It Boosts Fat Loss
Even if you eat the exact same diet as your friend, if youâ€™re not getting the sleep your body needs, you wonâ€™t drop as much fat as them.
It Helps You Shop for Healthier Food
Never go grocery shopping when youâ€™re hungryâ€”or exhausted. In a study published in the journal Obesity, sleep-deprived men bought nearly 1,300 calories in food more than well-rested men. And this was independent of hunger because all the participants (sleep-deprived or not) had been fed a standardized breakfast before the test.
It Encourages Portion Control
In a Swedish study, well-rested and sleep-deprived participants were asked to complete a computerized "ideal portion size" task where they could manipulate their serving size on a screen. Their findings: Sleep-starved people added 35 additional calories in snacks to their digital â€œplateâ€ compared to well-rested participants.
It Keeps Your Brain Focused
Your brain functions differently without sleep. Researchers at Harvard Medical School performed brain scans on people who reported high daytime sleepiness and measured their brain activity in response to high-calorie foods. The scans revealed reduced activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortexâ€”an area of the brain involved with inhibition and behavior control. Translation: Lowered inhibitions indicate a tendency to overeat when you're tired.