Can sleeping late result in Weight Gain?
Remember working late at night with a pressing deadline to catch and reaching out for that butter chicken and naan? Remember watching the latest episodes of Game of Thrones or Boston Legal or what you will, microwaving that cheesy popcorn and washing it down with a chilled glass of cola?
Remember being absorbed in a thrilling Grisham or Stephen King, and grabbing that crispy bag of chips?
Or perhaps that creamy Lindor you bought you from duty free?
Ah…and then of course, the weekend partying late, drinking yourself silly, eating dinner after midnight and bingeing on those velvety deserts and liqueurs into the wee hours of the morning?
Turns out, sleep deprivation and weight gain are more synonymous than you may think!
Sleep-deprivation = Weight Gain!
Research has revealed that healthy adults who have chronically late sleeping habits may be more susceptible to weight gain because they end up spending that extra awake time consuming extra calories.
“Although previous epidemiological studies have suggested an association between short sleep duration and weight gain/obesity, we were surprised to observe significant weight gain during an in-laboratory study,” says lead author Andrea Spaeth, a doctoral candidate in the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania. (ACE Prosource).
And in a research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, researchers found that those who habitually spent only four hours in bed from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. gained more weight than those who were in bed for 10 hours each night from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Sleep-restricted subjects in a research conducted had an overall increase in caloric intake, because they ate more meals during the late-night hours. Not surprisingly, the proportion of calories consumed from fat was higher during late-night hours than at other times of day. (ACE Prosource)
But it’s not just the quantity!
A study has also shown that when people are bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, they make food choices that are highest in calories, like desserts, chocolate and potato chips. The sleepier people feel, the more they want calorie-rich foods. The study demonstrated that the foods the subjects requested when they were sleep deprived added up to about 600 calories more than the foods that they wanted when they were well rested.
Why does this happen?
Because of the connection between sleep, hormones and BMI: The Science of Eating
According to Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods”.
“There’s something that changes in our brain when we’re sleepy that’s irrespective of how much energy we need,” said Dr. Wright, the director of the sleep and chronobiology lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “The brain wants more even when the energy need has been fulfilled.”
A more scientific explanation of this is that the two hormones responsible for our need to eat are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”
The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, a population-based longitudinal study of sleep disorders revealed that people who slept less had reduced leptin and elevated ghrelin. These differences in leptin and ghrelin increased appetite, possibly increasing BMI. Whenever people experience chronic sleep restriction and food is easily reachable, it may contribute to obesity.
Bottom line…More Ghrelin + Less Leptin = Weight Gain.
So, basically all you need is sleep!
So sleep enough, sleep well and you will have won at least one of the battles against weight gain.