How sleep can affect your appetite

October 9, 2015

A full night's sleep for most adults remains eight hours. Yes, some of us are fine with seven hours, but below that we are depriving ourselves of the rest we need for full mental and physical regeneration. Are we getting the sleep we need? Generally, no. Read on to learn more.

How sleep can affect your appetite

1. Did you know?

Ten years ago at least 38 percent of us slept eight hours a night, according to one survey. Five years ago that number had dropped to 30 percent. Two years ago it was down to 26 percent, and it's falling even further today.

2. Sleep and weight

Sleeping well not only helps stabilize blood sugar, but helps you manage your weight. When you don't get enough sleep, the urge to eat bad-for-you foods can get out of control. Not only do late nights in front of the TV go hand in hand with mindless snacking, sleep deprivation can actually alter your body chemistry in ways that make you hungrier.

In a recent study, in which men went without much sleep for a week, the scientists discovered that levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone leptin rose as the men's sleep debt grew. The men began to crave high-carbohydrate foods, such as candy, cookies, potato chips and pasta.Women who slept five hours a night were 32 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds or more as they aged than women who slept seven hours or more

3. What can be done?

But you can flip that switch the other way — saving yourself hundreds of extra calories per day — simply by snoozing. In one study, 32 university students kept diaries noting how much sleep they got and what foods they ate over a three-week period.

  • The first week, students stuck to their normal eating and sleeping schedules.
  • The second week, students were asked to sleep an extra two hours a day. The third week, students returned to their normal routine. When the students got an extra two hours of sleep per night, they ate nearly 300 calories a day less than they did the other weeks!

As these guidelines show, getting enough rest is crucial, and not doing so may contribute to weight gain and other health problems.

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