What happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep?
Are your eyelids drooping as you read this? If so, you might want to watch what you put on your plate. We all know that a lack of sleep can make us older, crankier, and – let’s face it – makes us gain weight. (Besides overeating, there are some foods, though, that will help you sleep better.)
But sleep slackers, beware: Researchers now know exactly how many calories are we overeating when we skimp on our shuteye, and it’s not pretty.
According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who don’t get enough sleep much more than usual the next day. More specifically, they eat an average of 385 calories more than their usual intake. The research team also revealed that the sleep-deprived participants are overeating significantly more fat and less protein.
But why the boost in calories and fat?
Turns out, a bad night’s sleep can actually make you crave junk food, scientists say.
To make matters worse, the subjects didn’t move around much after a bad night’s sleep. So instead of burning off those extra calories, it’s likely that the participants ended up storing them as fat. Consistently eating 385 extra calories a day can cause you to gain about a pound every nine days, Women’s Health reported. And not only does overeating spell disaster for your tummy, but all that weight gain could also increase your risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
If you struggle to lose weight, researchers suggest adjusting your sleep habits first and foremost. Try getting to bed an hour earlier to hit the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. But for those who struggle to reach that suggested dose of ZZZs, try these tips to stay sharp. Trust – your body (and your brain!) will be glad you did.
Originally published as This Is Exactly How Much More You Eat When You’re Sleep Deprived on ReadersDigest.com.