Sleepless nights may make you fatter. That’s the conclusion of a new study that found people who don’t get enough shut-eye are prone to eating too much and are more likely to become obese.
Mayo Clinic researchers, reporting a recent scientific meeting of the American Heart Association, said linked over-eating and lack of sleep in 17 healthy young men and women whose activities were tracked for eight nights.
Half of the study participants slept normally; half slept two-thirds their normal time. The men and women were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.
• The sleep-deprived individuals, who slept one hour and 20 minutes less than the other group each day, consumed an average 549 more calories each day.
• Both groups of people had the same levels of activity, suggesting that those who slept less didn't burn more calories than the sleep-deprived individuals.
• The individuals who slept less had increased levels of blood hormones that have associated with appetite and overeating.
Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Andrew D. Calvin said the study suggests sleep deprivation may be an important preventable cause of weight gain and obesity, but that more research is needed.
"Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night," he said. "Larger studies of people in their home environments would help confirm our findings."