Aren’t you tired of feeling tired? While fatigue may cause you to drink more coffee than you’d like or feel sluggish throughout your day, it can also cause another problem: weight gain. Keep reading to find out what insufficient sleep is really doing to your mindset, and to your waistline.
It’s in the Sleep Studies
Have you ever noticed that after getting an interrupted night’s sleep (or for whatever reason, you’ve been unable to successfully shake the fatigue) you reach for the super-strength cup of coffee, which follows a ravishing appetite for carbs and sugar? The truth is, it’s not a mere coincidence that on the days you get less than six hours of sleep are the days you want a heaping bowl of fettucine alfredo or you’re unable to pass up a candy bar from the vending machine at work.  In fact, studies have shown that sleeping less than five hours contributes to a higher caloric consumption, which leads to weight gain.
A study that showed a group of participants sleeping less than six hours, and more than 9 hours were asked their preferences on food. The majority chose high calorie and high carb food choices, in comparison to the food chosen by another group who slept over six hours but until nine hours. The high calorie participants gained a whopping eleven pounds in a year, while the other group gained none, or a few pounds.


Desserts with chocolate topping and fruit on the plate.

Higher Calories, Happier Brain
There are several reasons for the connection between sleep and weight gain. One, is that your hormones (such as leptin and ghrelin) are responsible for revving up your appetite (while getting sufficient sleep keeps your body levels at a normal level). Another theory is that your brain (after not getting enough sleep) gravitates towards anything rich, decadent and loaded with calories, because your brain needs motivation to eat (and the more delicious and fattening, the more motivated your brain is to consume). Another study showed that the more fatigued the participants were, the stronger their cravings for potato chips and dessert became. This could because their body is craving calories—so the more calories they can consume, the more satisfied their brain will become.
You can eliminate the sleep deprivation/weight gain roller coaster by committing to the same bedtime and wake up daily. Put yourself on a solid sleep schedule, along with reducing your TV watching time (and turn it off 45 minutes before laying down). Achieve a better night’s sleep, and lose weight, effortlessly.