Sleep and Obesity

Sleep & Obesity

Image Source: The Visual MD

Obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s. Today over two-thirds of adults, and one-third of school-age children in the US are overweight or obese.

There are numerous contributing factors to weight gain including when you go to sleep and how long you sleep. Personally I notice that if I stay up late for a period of time that I’m more prone to gaining a few pounds. Why? If I’m up late there are more hours to eat, so I take in more calories. And what I eat late at night tends to be carb driven comfort food. A peanut butter sandwich on whole grain wheat bread is my “go to” late night snack. Stress also seems to play a role. I stay up later when my stress levels are higher, so cortisol levels are elevated, another known factor for weight gain and sleep disturbance.

A recent study from sleep researchers at the University of Colorado suggests that losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain. Research shows that while you burn more calories the longer you are awake, that lack of sleep can cause you to consume more calories from carbs and fat. Read more about the research here.

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