Skimping on sleep will cost you your waistline; new study claims we not only eat more to fight fatigue, we eat higher calorie foods as well
11/10/2017 // Zoey Sky // Views

Not getting enough sleep at night means you'll wake up the next day tired and out of sorts. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also cause weight gain?

A study by researchers from King's College London has revealed that if you sleep less than the required seven hours every night, you might be eating at least an added 385 calories per day. These additional calories can add at least a pound to your weight weekly. (Related: Three mind-body causes of weight gain.)

The researchers looked into 11 studies to establish if sleep duration affected weight gain. The results revealed that sleep deprivation caused individuals to eat more food with higher fat content the next day instead of going for healthier options. Researchers found that while some participants didn't eat more the next day, they still “made more unhealthy choices.” Individuals aged 18 to 64 should sleep for at least seven to nine hours each night, says the National Sleep Foundation. Experts also say that this is key to a healthy diet.

The authors shared, “These ?ndings suggest that short sleep heightens the motivation to seek food for reward.” When you've been up all night, a sweet treat might seem like a good idea the next day, and you might even feel like you “deserve” this reward, resulting in a diet consisting of “higher fats and lower proteins.”

This doesn't bode well for your health because it is necessary to have a sufficient amount of protein in one's diet since the cells in the body need it to function properly. Protein also gives structure for the body's organs, muscles, hair, and nails. Another function of protein is it allows cells to communicate with one another, allowing for muscle contractions and nerve signals. With a low-protein and high-fat diet, one can have a higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.


The team concluded that sleep-deprived people tended to snack on a pack of cookies or chips, resulting in an additional 385 calories per day. The researchers also verified that those who had less than seven hours of sleep at night were not as active the next day. This implied that people did not engage in physical exercise which contributed to their weight gain. 

The body needs to burn off an average of 3,500 calories per week (or 500 calories per day) to lose a pound. Now, if the body gains an extra 400 calories instead of burning it off, a person will gain one pound every week. Experts suggest that we keep tabs on our sleep habits so our diet and weight aren't negatively affected.

6 steps to help you sleep better at night

If you're worried about your weight and want to get at least seven hours of sleep at night, here are some tips to help you sleep better:

  1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink – Don't sleep on a full stomach, and avoid heavy meals at least two hours before you go to sleep at night. Minimize your alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption as well.
  2. Minimize daytime naps – Avoid napping too much in the morning or the afternoon. If you nap too long, you might have a hard time falling asleep at night.
  3. Make physical activities a part of your daily routine – Take part in physical activities early in the day and avoid exercising when it's almost time for bed.
  4. Follow a sleep schedule – Adults must have at least seven hours of sleep each night. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day to help reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle.
  5. Create a restful environment – Make sure it's easy to fall asleep in your bedroom. Keep the room dark because it's harder to fall asleep when it's too bright. A cool and quiet room makes it easier to catch some Zs.
  6. Don't worry too much – Manage your stress. If you worry too much before bedtime, you might have trouble sleeping. Try stress management if you feel overwhelmed.

You can read more articles about how to eat healthier at

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