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Can Your Sleep Pattern Make You Fat?


We all know how important it is to get our beauty sleep. Now, according to scientists it seems that an extra hour in bed can actually be bad when it comes to weight loss. Even more strangely, losing an hours sleep may have exactly the same weight gain effect.

Research carried out in America by Penn State University College of Medicine looked at 342 teenagers and analysed their sleeping habits. They came up with some surprising findings.

Girl Sleeping

The scientists found that on average the teens slept seven hours a night. However when they were deprived of just one hours sleep, they ate an extra 200 calories a day. When the teenagers got an extra hour’s sleep – the same thing happened.

On average, the teens consumed an additional 200 calories the day following a late night or an early start next morning.

The teenagers were fitted with bracelets that measured their activity levels and rest periods and completed questionnaires about their food habits.

Their usual life styles, gender, BMI (body mass index) and eating habits were analysed as well as the usual amount of time they slept per night. Although their lifestyles and habits varied widely, this 200-calorie additional food intake following a change in sleep patterns was the common denominator. Scientists can not really explain these findings.

It could be that changes in sleep patterns cause imbalances in the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin which leads to an increase in appetite. Feeling tired because of a lack of sleep can cause an increase in the urge to snack more on high fat foods.

What is not quite as easy to explain is the fact that an extra hour in bed can have exactly the same effect upon your appetite and food intake as a lack of sleep.

This doesn’t seem right.

Most of us feel we should catch up on sleep at weekends with a lay in or get the occasional early night but it seems that this is not the case.

We all like a break with routine but when it comes to your sleep pattern it seems that sticking with your regular bedtime and getting up at the regular time may be better for weight loss.

This is bad news for those lazy weekend lie ins!

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