In an attempt to determine the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain, researchers at Columbia University have found that when people haven’t had sufficient sleep, they tend to eat around 300 calories more per day.
For the study, researchers took a group of men and women who normally get around eight hours of sleep every night. They were then divided in half, with one group sleeping only four hours a night for six nights while the other half slept for nine hours each night.
At first, subjects were fed a portion-controlled diet. On the two final days of the study, they were allowed to eat whatever they wanted.
According to USA Today, here are some of the results:
â€¢Participants consumed an average of 296 calories more when they were sleep-deprived compared with when they were well-rested.
â€¢When women were sleep-deprived they ate an average 329 more calories a day vs. when they were well-rested; men ate 263 more calories.
â€¢Overall, most of the extra calories came from high-fat foods such as ice cream and fast foods.
â€¢When women were sleep-deprived, they ate an average of about 31 more fat grams a day. Men’s fat intake didn’t climb that much.
A University of Chicago sleep researcher tells the paper that an additional 300 calories day “is a substantial increase in energy intake that, if maintained chronically, would lead to rapid and robust weight gain.”