More and more research on weight loss and health is showing that longer sleep can actually help with shedding those extra pounds.
“There are over two dozen studies that suggest that people who sleep less tend to weigh more,” Sanjay Patel, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, told WebMD.
In one, researchers at the University of Chicago examined 1,000 people, and discovered that overweight people slept on average about 16 minutes less a day than those at a normal weight.
Patel’s own research more than followed 68,000 women for 16 years and found that the subjects who slept five hours or less a night were nearly one-third more likely to gain 30 pounds or more than those who got at least seven hours.
A number of reasons for this is suggested: Sleep deprivation may affect appetite, leading to increased hunger and snacking during the day; sleep-deprived people are at risk for increased fatigue, and are less prone to exercise; and the lack of restful sleep can change basal metabolic rate, reducing the calories burnt during even ordinary activities, such as breathing and maintaining body temperature.