A new study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that sleep-deprived people consume an average of 385 calories more per day. Lead researcher Dr Gerda Pot, of the Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division at King’s College London says, “There may be some truth in the saying, “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise”.
“Reduced sleep is one of the most common and potentially modifiable health risks in today’s society in which chronic sleep loss is becoming more common. More research is needed to investigate the importance of sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity and whether sleep extension could play a role in obesity prevention.”
A possible explanation for lack of sleep causing weight gain my be a disruption of the internal body clock affecting the body’s regulation of two different hormones, ghrelin (the ‘hunger’ hormone) and leptin (the ‘satiety’ hormone). And another study found that sleep deprivation resulted in greater activation of areas in the brain associated with reward when people were exposed to food.
The researchers of this study are encouraging further study to understand the effect of increased sleep duration on weight gain and obesity over the long term, as most of the studies included in this analysis were in controlled laboratory conditions over shorter periods.
H A.Khatib, study author at King’s College London, says, “Our results highlight sleep as a potential third factor, in addition to diet and exercise, to target weight gain more effectively. We are currently conducting a randomised controlled trial in habitually short sleepers to explore the effects of sleep extension on indicators of weight gain.”
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