Experts reckon a lack of sleep might actually be making you fatter
Years of rapidly-spreading bro science, coupled with generations of people getting used to the image of tired-looking supermodels, have somehow led humanity to the natural conclusion that one advantage of being constantly tired is that you’re more likely to keep excess. When you’re drained, you take on a gaunt appearance. The weight, for better or for worse, seems to fall off, and when you are awake longer than is healthy, at least you’re burning excess calories. It makes basic sense.
However, new research has begun to reveal that in the long run, that might not actually be the case. In fact, those suffering from sleep deprivation for whatever reason are more likely to end up obese than those who get a good 6 hours of kip per night.
The reasons for this are fairly straight forward. First of all, you’re less likely to burn the kind of calories you want to when you rock up to the gym feeling tired, sluggish and unmotivated. Secondly, more and more research is starting to indicate that less sleep makes people not only more likely to consume carb-y food, but also way, way worse at processing said carbs once they’ve eaten them.
Research has shown that people are liable to eat up to 300 calories more in a day if you’ve had a shitty night’s sleep, which is more than the equivalent of scarfing down an extra Big Mac. Fatigued people tend to overproduce a hunger hormone called Grehlin. You’re essentially tricking your body into thinking it’s more hungry than it actually is, and you chow down more often without noticing as a result.
“How we sleep can influence what we eat, and vice versa. Sleep deprivation impairs our bodies’ ability to metabolise carbohydrates,” Brandon Marcello, PhD, told . “This impairment causes us to crave carbohydrates, but more specifically junk food. Furthermore low-quality, insufficient sleep over long periods alters hormone levels shifting us in a state favouring fat storage.”
All of this leads to the conclusion that if you’re still well and truly into the swing of a new year’s weight loss kick, it’s worth working that ‘Sleep More’ resolution you were tossing around in your head into the bargain. The two may well help each other out.