A recent study from the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University indicates that lack of sleep contributes to overeating and thus obesity. Here is the conclusion:
The findings of this study link restricted sleep and susceptibility to food stimuli and are consistent with the notion that reduced sleep may lead to greater propensity to overeat.
What’s happening here? Researchers found that, “Overall neuronal activity in response to food stimuli was greater after restricted sleep than after habitual sleep. In addition, a relative increase in brain activity in areas associated with reward… in response to food stimuli, was observed.”
So it seems that sleep restriction caused subjects to like food more. They found it more rewarding. Weird! The take home message is obvious: Get some sleep!
In this study subjects either slept about nine hours or were restricted to only four hours. How much sleep should you get? Ideal sleep time may vary from person to person. WebMD says, “Most adults need seven to eight hours a night for the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as five hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.” If you’re a hard-training athlete then you probably need to be on the high side of those numbers.