OK, so you can’t lose weight just by sleeping if you eat doughnuts five times a day and never leave your couch. But, it turns out, there may be a correlation between your appetite and how much and how well you sleep.
It’s a captivating idea, and it could have repercussions for increasingly sedentary, stress-filled lifestyles. People who sleep less may tend to eat more.
A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Minnesota Obesity Center and the Mayo Clinic found that people who were sleep deprived ate more than 500 additional calories per day.
Previous studies have also found that a lack of sleep is linked with weight gain and obesity, but more are needed to confirm the results. The idea is that less sleep and sleep disruption can affect people’s hormones — specifically their leptin and ghrelin levels — both stimulating their appetite and making them not as satisfied after they eat.
Dr. Michael Breus, a nationally recognized sleep expert, traveled around Maine early this summer and talked about the difference more sleep can have on a successful versus a failed diet.
Sleep experts suggest turning cellphones and computers off an hour before going to bed, keeping naps short during the day, maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bedroom, sticking to a similar routine during the week and on weekends and exercising regularly (but not right before bed) as ways to improve your sleep.
Whether it helps you lose weight or not, it’s good to aim for a restful sleep. Just do your best to not dream about cake.