The two epidemics in America which we seem to hear about the most are a lack of sleep and widespread obesity. Unfortunately, it’s not just attention-grabbing headlines: according to studies, over one third of Americans are obese, and one third don’t get enough sleep.
The closeness of these two figures may be more than coincidence. A growing body of research shows a strong association between sleep deprivation and weight gain. In a meta-analysis that encompassed 634,511 subjects, both male and female, ranging in age from 2 to 102, researchers found a consistent increased risk of obesity among those who don’t sleep enough.
So what role does sleep loss play in weight gain—and, on the flip side, can quality sleep help with weight loss?
If you’re currently trying or have tried to lose weight, you’ve probably heard ten times over the myriad best practices you should be following, but there’s probably a very simple one that’s been left out: getting a good night’s sleep.
An estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight, according to a recent study, which makes us the country with the highest proportion of overweight and obese people in the world, clocking in at 13% of the global total. Equally concerning, almost a third of Americans report that they are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep.
Did you know that getting quality, restful sleep can help you lose weight?
According to Sanjay Patel, M.D. a researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, at least two dozen studies have confirmed that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. Studying almost 70,000 women over the course of 16 years, Patel and his colleagues discovered that women who sleep less than five hours a night were far more likely to gain weight than those who get at least seven and a half hours. And the difference wasn't negligible. In fact, they were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds. Yikes.
The sleep connection to appetite and metabolism.
There are several different ways losing sleep can thwart your weight loss efforts. Research from the University of Chicago suggests that