New York: People who got very little sleep ate more but didn`t burn any extra calories in a new study that adds to evidence supporting a link between sleep deprivation and weight gain.Although the findings don`t prove that sleeplessness causes people to pack on extra pounds, or exactly how the relationship between sleep and body weight might work, they do show that "sleep should be a priority," said Michael Grandner, who studies sleep and sleep disorders at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia."If you`re making your diet a priority and trying to be healthy, don`t forget that getting healthy sleep is probably an extremely important part of being healthy," Grandner, who was not involved in the new work, said.Previous studies have tested the link between sleep and diet and weight in multiple ways, Grandner explained. Some surveyed large populations of people with questions about their sleeping and eating habits and tracked their future health conditions. Others, including the new report, looked at a smaller group of people very closely, manipulating their sleep schedule and observing how their food cravings and appetite responded.
If that kept up in a person`s normal daily life, it would put the sleep-deprived at higher risk of obesity, the authors write in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.Participants also said they felt more sluggish and less energetic after a few days on the short sleep schedule.There are a few possible explanations behind the link between sleep and eating, researchers explained. One is that shut-eye is important for the hormones that help control how much we eat.Sleep "seems to play a role in how your body manages the hormones that control how hungry you are, when you`re hungry (and) what kinds of foods you`re hungry for," Grandner said.Another explanation is that when we`re tired, we`re less good at making healthy eating decisions."It`s possible that when you`re on short sleep you`re more susceptible to giving in to your desires," St-Onge told Reuters Health. "You walk past a (food) cart or a bakery and it smells so good...If you`re sleep-deprived you may be like, `Oh, what the heck,`" she said.Grandner added that it`s possible the link goes both ways, and that eating too much of certain kinds of foods can disrupt a person`s sleep schedule. Or, someone that has a stressful job may sleep too little and also eat too much as a result.Too little sleep has also been tied to a host of other health problems, he said, including heart disease and diabetes -- which have their own associations with weight, complicating the picture even further."People always want to say if you sleep more you`ll lose weight," St-Onge said. While her study didn`t set out to show whether that`s the case, "if you`re trying to control your weight, it would be helpful not to be sleep-deprived," she concluded.Bureau Report
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