While scientists have long linked sleep deprivation with weight gain, the researchers from Columbia University are now able to provide more insight into the phenomenon. In a study of 26 men and women who regularly slept seven to nine hours a night, participants were split into two groups – one was able to sleep four hours a night for six nights, while the other slept nine hours a night.
Not only did the sleep-deprived group consume more calories than when they were adequately rested (an average of 329 extra calories a day for women and 263 extra for men), most of those calories came from high-fat foods, particularly ice cream. Women also ate an average of 31 extra grams of fat a day. Men’s fat intake did not increase by much.
Of course, you might be able to burn off some of those additional calories during your extra waking hours. But lounging on the couch watching late-night infomercials on television probably isn’t going to cut it. It takes walking about five kilometres at a moderate speed to burn roughly 225 calories. Biking the same distance can burn around 130. So, if the thought of doing that on four hours of sleep sounds exhausting, you’re probably better off just crawling into bed early.
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