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Is a lack of sleep making you fat?

Sep 15, 2017 04:16PM ● Published by Caitlin Marshall

Losing sleep doesn’t just make us tired. It could also be making us fat! In a recent study, healthy people who were limited to five hours of sleep a night gained an astonishing two pounds in less than a week! Researchers are saying that losing sleep affects us in three important ways:

  • It slows down our resting metabolism. Being tired makes us move less. And a slower metabolism reduces the number of calories our bodies use for basic activities – like breathing and circulating blood.

  • Being tired also affects our food choices. Studies show that sleep-deprived people tend to go for salty snacks, and sweets high in carbs and protein – as opposed to healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables. That’s because processed foods provide a short-term energy boost. Plus, when we’re worn out, we have less willpower to resist temptation.

  • A lack of sleep also affects when people get hungry. Our bodies are designed to eat more in the morning and less after dark. But when we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to skip breakfast – or eat a skimpy breakfast and binge on after-dinner snacks.

Of course, going to bed earlier won’t magically give you a beach body. But, health professionals say getting the recommend seven to eight hours of sleep a night will boost your metabolism, and make it harder for you to gain more weight.

 

Sources: Stanford University-Sleep Science, National Institute of Health


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