According to a recent Gallup poll, 40% of Americans get 6 hours of sleep or fewer a night.
Apart from leading to a cranky attitude and groggy mornings, lack of enough sleep could also make a person gain weight.
An analysis carried out by Columbia University researchers has shown that those who sleep less than 7 hours a night gain more weight, are heavier, and find it so hard to lose weight.
If you want to lose weight or keep fit, then it’s important to note that getting adequate sleep is as important as sweating at the gym.
Here are 6 reasons why you should ensure that you get adequate sleep per night:
Prevents you from eating late-night snacks
If you stay up late, you will most likely eat calories your body doesn’t need.
According to a research carried out by at the University of Pennsylvania, those who eat at this time of the night can gain up to 2 pounds every week.
This research found out that participants who slept from 4 AM- 8 AM 9 (sleep deprived) gained more weight than those who got adequate sleep (slept from 11 PM- 8 AM).
This was mainly because of the fact that those who did not get enough sleep ate 550 calories while the other subjects who had enough sleep were in bed asleep.
It helps you burn more calories
Did you know that getting enough sleep will make you more energetic and productive during your waking hours?
And did you know that getting enough sleep can also help your body burn calories even when you are not working out?
According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical nutrition those who get enough sleep per night have a higher resting energy expenditure than those who don’t get enough sleep.
Resting energy expenditure is the number of calories a person burns when he or she is not moving.
This study also found out that those who get adequate sleep burn 20% more calories after a meal than those who don’t get enough sleep.
It boosts fat loss
Even if what you eat is similar to what your friend eats but you are not getting adequate sleep, then he or she may be losing more fat than you lose.
In a study carried out at the University of Chicago, the weight loss results from sleeping 8 ½ hours a night versus sleeping only 5 ½ a night were compared.
All those who participated in the study ate an equal number of calories, which was about 1,450 calories every day.
While the two groups shed about 6 ½ pounds, more than a half of that weight was fat for those who slept for 8 ½ hours, compared to only a quarter for those who slept for only 5 ½ hours.
It helps you shop for healthy food
It is a good idea to avoid shopping when you are exhausted or hungry.
A study published in a journal called Obesity found that men who did not get enough sleep bought food that contained about 1,300 more calories than those men who had adequate sleep.
This was independent of hunger as all those who participated in the study ate a standardized breakfast before the test.
It encourages portion control
In a study carried out in Sweden, participants who had enough sleep and those who did not get enough sleep were asked to complete a computerized “ideal portion size” task and given an opportunity to manipulate their serving size on a screen.
The study found out that those who did not get enough sleep added 35 more calories in snacks to their digital plate compared to those who got enough sleep.
So, get reading those mattress reviews and get a comfortable bed for some extra rest.
It keeps your brain focused
The brain functions differently without adequate sleep. In a research carried out at Harvard Medical School, brain scans were performed on some people who usually felt excessively sleepy during waking hours.
Their brain activity was then measured in response to foods with the high calories.
The scans showed reduced activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain which plays a role in inhibition and control of behavior.
Translation: lower inhibitions will make you overeat when you feel tired.
In addition to this, another study carried out at Columbia University found brain activity differences in sleepy people’s response to food.
This study found that increased activation in the insular cortex an area of the brain that plays a role in the regulation of pleasure-seeking behaviors.
Unhealthy foods activate this area of the brain more than healthier food meaning that not getting enough sleep will make your brain crave for unhealthy food.