Losing sleep doesn’t just make us tired. It could also be making us fat! In a recent study, healthy people who were limited to five hours of sleep a night gained an astonishing two pounds in less than a week! Lead researcher, biologist Dr. Ken Wright, said that losing sleep affects us in three important ways:
- It slows down our resting metabolism. Being tired makes us move less. And a slower metabolism reduces the number of calories our bodies use for basic activities – like breathing and circulating blood.
- Being tired also affects our food choices. Studies show that sleep-deprived people tend to go for salty snacks, and sweets high in carbs and protein – as opposed to healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables. That’s because processed foods provide a short-term energy boost. Plus, when we’re worn out, we have less willpower to resist temptation.
- A lack of sleep also affects when people get hungry. Our bodies are designed to eat more in the morning and less after dark. But when we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to skip breakfast – or eat a skimpy breakfast and binge on after-dinner snacks. Of course, going to bed earlier won’t magically give you a beach body. But, Dr. Wright says getting the recommend seven to eight hours of sleep a night will boost your metabolism, and make it harder for you to gain more weight.