Are you getting enough sleep?

January 19, 2013

A lack of sleep can do more than just make you tired. It could be behind you gaining weight. We look at the latest evidence to see whether this claim holds any weight.

We all know that the less sleep we get, the more tired we become. What might not be known is the relationship between the amount of sleep we get and our weight. The latest research out of Sweden and Germany suggests that the amount of sleep we get influences body weight control through our appetite levels and how much energy we burn.

The research which will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour measured the relationship between the amount of energy burnt and hunger levels by observing the hunger hormone, ghrelin. The research found that people who were sleep deprived for three days had increased levels of ghrelin in their blood and experienced increased hunger levels. They also noted that the less sleep the people had, the bigger their hunger levels were. One day disrupted sleep was enough for people to burn less energy during the day and eat more calories. The implications are that it would take less than a week of sub-optimal sleep for people to experience weight gain.

The implications for cyclists looking to shed those extra few stubborn kilos are clear. All it might take is a good nights sleep, repeated over and over. We might now have one more reason to go to bed just a little bit earlier. 



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