How Skipping Sleep Can Add Pounds

Couple Sleeping in Bed

A good night's sleep does a body good - Everyone knows that. But now, results of a new study show that even one night of burning the candle at both ends can put a dent in your efforts to lose weight.

Conducted by the Hengyi Rao, an assistant professor in the division of sleep and chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, the study revealed that missing a single night of sleep can alter function within your brain's salience network - a cognitive pathway that scientists believe guides decision-making.

Study participants included 46 healthy, nonsmoking and mostly non-obese adults aged 21-50 who underwent a four-night, five-day series of sleep studies conducted in a laboratory. On the first night each of the participants enjoyed a full night's rest. After nine hours in bed, each underwent a brain scan to record normal network function following a night of adequate sleep.

The next night, 34 of the participants were randomly selected to be kept awake all night, while the rest again enjoyed a night's rest - at least eight hours. The next day, brain scans were again conducted and participants were allowed to move about, watch television, read, play board or video games and eat as they pleased.

That's where things got interesting. Participants in the sleep-deprived group consumed upward of 950 extra calories after the night of no sleep, compared to other participants, and compared to their caloric intake after sleeping a full night. Plus, sleep-deprived participants chose foods that were significantly higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates than those who had slept well the prior night. Thus, the study shows that missing just a single night of sleep can trigger a shift in brain activity that sparks a craving for higher-fat foods.

Study results back up a long-suspected relationship between a prolonged lack of sleep and the risk of obesity. That's why expert weight loss counselors with Metabolic Research Center focus on three primary factors in developing healthy lifestyles - a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and adequate sleep. To boost your weight loss efforts, call 800-501-8090 and schedule an appointment at the MRC location nearest you.


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