Sleep Away The Calories Tonight

   By drodriguez  Apr 10, 2011

Science gives us yet another reason why it’s always a good idea to catch some Z’s.  A recent study found that making unhealthy food choices and gaining unwanted weight may be at stake when you’re not getting enough sleep at night.

A recent report from USA Today discusses the findings of the Columbia University study and what it means for women who sleep less than the recommended 8 to 9 hours a night.  

The women involved in the study ate an average of 329 more calories and 31 extra grams of fat on the days they were sleep-deprived (getting about 4 hours of sleep) than during the time they had slept 9 hours.  Ice cream was reported to be the number one choice of sleep deprived women.

So, how did the men measure up?  They only ate 263 more calories on the days they were lacking a good night’s rest and their fat intake did not increase much at all.

Assistant professor of clinical nutrition medicine at Columbia University, Marie-Pierre St-Onge, explains why you may want to think about getting some extra shuteye tonight.  St-Onge says, “Sleep deprivation makes you more susceptible to overeating so that can be something to consider when you’re trying to lose weight.”  St-Onge also points out other studies that link lack of sleep to heart disease and obesity.

What do you think of the study reporting that women make unhealthy food choices and may gain weight when they don’t get enough sleep?

Do you find that you eat more and crave fattier foods when you’re sleep deprived?

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moldyoranges by moldyoranges | NORTH PLATTE, NE
May 02, 2011

Wow, this is so my problem!!! I don't get enough sleep! No wonder I'm getting fluffy lately! I need to start working out and eating better and getting enough sleep!!

sherylita by sherylita | redding, CA
Apr 25, 2011

For me, retirement has helped me get more and better quality sleep, crave food less, and feel better overall. I think work related stress caused a domino effect. Stress leads to less sleep, poorer quality sleep, more cravings. It's a vicious cycle. I have lost 14 pounds.

firecop by firecop | Klamath Falls, OR
Apr 23, 2011

I always had a feeling that I would gain more weight when I was working a "graveyard" shift. I thought it might just be less activity, but when I upped my workout and still gained a little extra pudge I really started to wonder. I didn't notice eating more during those shifts, but I may well have been. It may be that our willpower fades when we are sleep deprived. I know I make better decisions when I've "slept" on an issue, and when I am well rested I seem to be able to resist temptation better. When I'm tired, I just don't seem to care.

mogie543 by mogie543 | Stockholm, WI
Apr 21, 2011

Makes sense since when you are tired you are more likely to grab a energy drink or very sugary drinks which is higher is calories. so I AGREE with this theory

LifebyCynthia by LifebyCynthia | SAN DIEGO, CA
Apr 20, 2011

I'm not so sure whether or not sleep deprivation causes me to necessarily CRAVE fattier foods. What I do know for sure is that when I am not well rested I am usually less calm and more rushed each morning. Because of this I usually do not have the time or energy to prepare healthier meals for myself for the day. I am out the door hurriedly and pick something up on the way to work for breakfast. Since lunch isn't packed - I may head out to a fast food joint. More & more fast food places try to offer "healthier" fare - but too much of this can be hard on the old wallet! Thankfully I have been more aware of the benefits of sleep so I have not been falling back into this pattern.

katythao2009 by katythao2009 | Warren, MI
Apr 13, 2011

I will have to said I agree and disagree with this. I will sometime over eat even if I have enough sleep. I believe it's the person's decision. I would also say that even you see food you think yo're hungry so you eat. Just keep the food out of sight to avoid over eating.

MrsMooch by MrsMooch | Maplewood, NJ
Apr 13, 2011

I just got diagnosed a year ago with Sleep Apnea. All the research I did on apnea pointed out that being overweight/obese or not being able to loose weight is a red flag for apnea! And that it's a vicious cycle: obesity/overweight causes apnea. Apnea causes obesity/weight gain! Searching for food during the day to fuel your exhaustion is a common effect of apnea! It also sends out cortisol surges that drive weight gain (ref: Deadly Sleep by Mack Jones, MD) Researchers call it "the silent killer" for good reason and say it's pandemic because a giant portion of the public have it and don't know that they do. So if you are truly exhausted and overweight & can't sleep through the night, GET TESTED FOR SLEEP APNEA, it could save your life!

Von411 by Von411 | El paso, TX
Apr 12, 2011

Wow I guess I need to start sleeping more.. I don't so this is a problem...

mamma02 by mamma02 | marysville, WA
Apr 12, 2011

I totally believe this. For some reason, I always feel hungrier when I didn't get a good nights rest. I also find myself eating when I'm tired just to keep myself awake.

adj333 by adj333 | oklahoma city, OK
Apr 12, 2011

Well I can see now why I have put on the pounds in the last few years. Now if I could only find away to keep myself from waking up after 5 hours of sleep!

jh0816 by jh0816 | DULUTH, GA
Apr 10, 2011

I can see that. I know exactly when I am eating for energy because I am slacking in energy from not getting any sleep the night before. But I cannot help myself. I am trying to get that energy from food to keep me going. Probably another reason why America is overweight. Our schedules these days do not allow for sleep. People are working two jobs because of the economy, or everyone in the house is working one or two jobs and sleep goes by the wayside.

Jennafer by Jennafer | Danbury, NC
Apr 10, 2011

No wonder I'm a little on the fluffy side, I haven't slept a good night since before my teenage years. Back then I was skinny.

Yoshi26 by Yoshi26 | South Bend, IN
Apr 10, 2011

Wow. Who would have thought getting enough sleep can help with weight loss. Something to think about the next time I feel like I'm eating more that usual.