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    Exhausted and Packing on the Pounds? Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Overeating

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    A new review of previously conducted studies has found that the less you sleep, the more you are likely to eat.

    The new look at the studies, conducted by scientists in the UK, was published on Wednesday in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They found that people who slept from 3.5 to 5.5 hours a night consumed more calories than those who slept for 7-12 hours. Those who got less sleep also did not burn significantly more calories than those who get full nights of sleep — despite being awake for more hours.

    “The main cause of obesity is an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure and this study adds to accumulating evidence that sleep deprivation could contribute to this imbalance,” senior author Dr. Gerda Pot, a researcher in the Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences Division at King's College London, wrote in a statement. “So there may be some truth in the saying 'early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise.'”

    The researchers found that people who are sleep deprived also tend to eat less protein and more fat, though they consumed roughly the same amount of carbohydrates as their well-rested peers.

    In addition to different dietary habits, a lack of sleep can also make it harder for people to exercise regularly, contributing to weight gain.

    “Our results highlight sleep as a potential third factor, in addition to diet and exercise, to target weight gain more effectively,” lead author and fellow King’s College researcher Dr. Haya Al Khatib wrote. “We are currently conducting a randomised controlled trial in habitually short sleepers to explore the effects of sleep extension on indicators of weight gain.”

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    Tags:
    Health, Weight, Sleep, Study, King's College, Gerda Pot, London
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