It seems that other factors may be leading to the infamous “Freshman 15” beyond the overconsumption of alcohol and junk food. According to a recent study from the University of Colorado, a lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain.
The discovery that adults who sleep less than six hours a night are more prone to being overweight is not necessarily new, but what is startling is just how quickly losing sleep can affect your weight.
According to The New York Times, University of Colorado researchers found that losing just a few hours of sleep a couple of nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain.
“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep they overate carbohydrates,” Kenneth Wright, director of the university’s sleep and chronobiology laboratory, told the source. “They ate more food, and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”
There a variety of reasons for this phenomenon. Sleep deprivation not only causes additional cravings, according to Prevention, it also makes it more likely that you will choose to munch on high-calorie snacks.
In addition, studies have shown that when you are sleep deprived, your energy expenditure when you are awake will be significantly less than if you had gotten a good night’s sleep, Prevention reported. This means that you will not only be ingesting more calories, but you will also be burning them off less quickly.
So the next time you’re thinking of pulling an all-nighter, consider the adverse effect it can have on your health. Exercising regularly and maintaining healthy eating habits may be important, but so too is squeezing in those eight hours of peaceful slumber.