According to an article on CNN Health a recent study suggests that lack of sleep could throw off a diet.
Research from the University of Chicago showed that dieters who slept for 8.5 hours lost 55 percent more body fat than dieters who slept 5.5 hours. How is this possible? According to the study not having enough sleep could affect a hormone called ghrelin, known to affect appetite and weight. An increase in this hormone level has been shown to make people hungrier and cause higher fat retention.
The study included 10 sedentary nonsmokers, between the ages of 35 to 49 years with a body mass index considered overweight to obese (BMI 25-32), who stayed in what’s considered a closed study environment for two weeks. They ate the same diet, consumed multivitamins and performed the same type of work or leisure activities. Six of them were assigned to 8.5 hours of sleep, and four slept 5.5 hours. Those who slept more lost more fat and maintained fat-free body mass.
The dieters who slept less also reported feeling hungrier throughout the course of the study.
Study authors wrote, “Together, these results suggest that the loss of sleep at times of limited food intake amplifies the pattern of ghrelin-associated changes in human hunger, glucose and fat utilization, and energy metabolism.”
Furthermore, according to About.com inadequate sleep amounts can affect you in a myriad of unhealthy ways:
Lack of sleep interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.
Drives down leptin levels, which causes the body to crave carbohydrates.
Reduces levels of growth hormone–a protein that helps regulate the body’s proportions of fat and muscle.
Can lead to insulin resistance and contribute to increased risk of diabetes.
Can increase blood pressure.
Can increase the risk of heart disease.
It may be worth your while health-wise to try to pack in as many zzz’s as possible.