A good night’s sleep is much more than a luxury. Its benefits include improvements in concentration, short-term memory, productivity, mood, sensitivity to pain and immune function.
Adequate sleep has also the extra benefit of .. keeping your weight in check!
Sleep less, Weigh more
People who sleep less have been shown to be heavier than those who have enough sleep.
A Havard study conducted on 16,000 women over 16 years showed that women who slept 5 hours or less per night weighed 5.4 pounds more at the beginning of the study than those sleeping 7 hours. In addition, the 5 hour group gained an additional 1.6 pounds more on average over the next 10 years.
While researchers are not sure why this is so, they postulate that having inadequate sleep may have effects on your basal metabolic rate, with resultant increased weight gain.
Sleep less, Eat more
My colleagues will probably all agree with me when I say that we tend to eats loads more junk food when we were on call in hospital and sleep deprived.
A study published in 2009 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Plamen D. Penev et al explored calorie consumption and expenditure by 11 healthy volunteers who spent two 14-day stays in a sleep laboratory. Both sessions offered unlimited access to tasty foods. During one stay, the volunteers — five women and six men — were limited to 5.5 hours of sleep a night, and during the other they got 8.5 hours of sleep.
The researchers found that, although the subjects ate the same amount of food at meals for both the 5.5hr sleep and 8.5 hr sleep stays, the subjects consumed an average of 221 more calories from snacks (per night) during the shortened nights compared to those when they were getting more sleep. Furthermore, the snacks they ate tended to be high in simple carbohydrates, and the subjects expended no more energy than they did on the longer nights.
The extra calories translate to putting on 1kg of body weight in a month!
It is important to make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep during your weight loss program. If you do not want to inadvertently put on weight, also try your best to get 7-8 hours of beauty sleep a day.