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Your Health ~ March, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 03)
Gaining weight may have to do more with how many zzz's you are getting rather than how much you are consuming. New research has found that losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain. Just how much? Let's find out.
Recently, researchers from the University of Colorado recruited 16 healthy men and women for a two-week experiment tracking sleep, metabolism and eating habits. The goal was to determine how inadequate sleep over just one week affects a person's weight, behavior and physiology, according to the study.
During the first week, half the people were allowed to sleep nine hours a night while the other half stayed up until about midnight and then could sleep up to five hours. Everyone was given unlimited access to food. In the second week, the nine-hour sleepers were then restricted to five hours of sleep a night, while the sleep-deprived participants were allowed an extra four hours.
According to the study, researchers found that staying up late and getting just five hours of sleep increased a person's metabolism. Sleep-deprived participants actually burned an extra 111 calories a day, according to the findings published last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
However, the light sleepers ended up eating far more than those who got nine hours of sleep, and by the end of the first week the sleep-deprived subjects had gained an average of about two pounds. During the second week, members of the group that had originally slept nine hours also gained weight when they were restricted to just five hours. And the other group began to lose some (but not all) of the weight gained in that first sleep-deprived week, according to the study.
It is always recommended to get at least eight hours of sleep every night, if you are looking to lose some pounds, make sure to get your sleep. It might help you get rid of those extra pounds.