By Dr. Crandall:
Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a whole host of problems, including the tendency for snacking on junk food. But a new study shows that simply going to sleep too late can expand your waistline.
In the largest controlled study of healthy individuals to date, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania examined 220 people ages 20 to 50; a control group was allowed to sleep 10 hours a night, while another group could sleep only four hours.
The participants were allowed to eat at will, but the amount of food they ate, and the choices they made, were tracked and measured.
The researchers found that people whose sleep was restricted tended to eat more on the days when their bedtimes were delayed and they went to sleep later. They also tended to eat more high-fat foods on those days during the late night hours. In addition, they were also more likely to gain weight than the subjects who were allowed to sleep normally.
So if you’re trying to control your weight, keep an eye on the clock as well as the scale.