March 19, 2013
New parents, college students and those who have to stay up late to meet deadlines may find themselves with an expanding waistline. The lack of sleep isn’t the root cause of the problem, but rather that a person will consume more food when they are awake for longer periods of time.
The findings in this study aren’t surprising given past research findings and the link between weight gain and sleep, but a new study from the University of Colorado demonstrates how quickly a link can be formed between lack of sleep and weight gain. The New York Times reported that even just a few days with a couple hours less sleep than is normal can lead to an expanding waist line.
Although getting less sleep can increase a person’s metabolism, it can also result in overeating. The study from the University of Colorado showed that light sleepers gained around 2 pounds after one week of decreased sleep. The study also found that those that sleep less not only eat more, they eat a greater quantity of food that is bad for you, mainly, carbohydrates and fats. They also tend to eat a smaller breakfast and partake in after dinner snacking. In the experiment, once a regular pattern of increased sleep was resumed, the participants immediately began a more healthful diet.