We all know sleep is an important ingredient for a healthy lifestyle. Without it, we feel like zombies the next day, as we reach for our coffee to help us perk up. Our appetites also increase as our bodies seek out extra energy sources. When we don't log 7-9 hours of shut eye per night, our hormones get out of whack. Specifically, ghrelin and leptin, which regulate our appetite. Recent research has come out showing just how much more we do eat when we are sleep deprived. A new meta-analysis of 11 small studies, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found people who didn’t get enough sleep ate an average of 385 calories more than usual the next day. You'd have to run at a 6.0 mile per hour pace for 45 minutes just to burn those extra calories!
Researchers also found that their sleepy participants were less likely to be active and burn off those extra calories. Not surprising considering how appetizing the sofa looks when we're running on less than 7-8 hours of sleep. Who wants to hit the gym when they desperately need a nap? It's hard enough to find the willpower to go for that 45 minute run when you are well rested! So those extra calories are far more likely to cause weight gain. Let's say you have 10 nights/month where you get less than 7 hours (which, for many of us, is quite normal). Over the course of a year, that would add up to 13.2 lbs of weight gain! So do yourself a favor and try to get adequate sleep every night. Of course, life happens, and we won't always get the rest our bodies need, so just be aware on those days of your appetite, and try to control your urge to eat more. Your waist line will thank you!