Poor sleep could result in over-eating calories according to a study conducted at King’s College London. Researchers at the university recently published a systematic review, a study of studies, that pooled together results from 11 separate studies that observed over 170 people. They concluded that being sleep deprived can lead to an additional 385kcal on average per day being consumed.
Sleep deprivation also appears to drive us toward eating more fat and less protein, although the study does not comment upon whether this leads to weight gain. If you’re trying to lose weight and control calorie intake, it appears that taking adequate sleep is as important as watching how many calories we consume and how many we expend.
Why sleep deprivation causes excess calorie consumption isn’t entirely known, although it is assumed that lack of sleep activates areas in the brain that are associated with reward, and thus potentially drives us to seek foods we’d normally label as “reward foods” – those that are higher in fat! There are also hormones that rely on our body clock for regulation, and one of the hormones that modulates appetite, and is being increasingly studied, is leptin. Leptin, sometimes called the “satiety hormone”, is often found to be “switched off” in people who are overweight, preventing them from feeling full even when they’ve overeaten. Sleep patterns are very important in regulating many hormones, and we’ve found in other studies how shift workers can also suffer from disruption in hormone balances and appetite.
Original news release from King’s College London.
Photo taken from flickr: CollegeDegrees360 called Learning
Seb is a writer and blogger of food and nutrition. He holds a bachelors and a masters degree in nutrition science, and has studied sports and exercise nutrition at postgraduate level. He specialises in plant-based nutrition and believes passionately that we can all live with a little less meat.