Exhaustion Can Lead to A 300-Calorie Increase a Day

Exhaustion Can Lead to A 300-Calorie Increase a Day

Get enough sleep and you will prevent disease and have a better body composition. Studies show that adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep have a much greater risk of being obese than those who get at least 9 hours a night. Being tired affects kids too—a recent review found that 92 percent of the children with the shortest sleep time each night were overweight.

We don’t know exactly why lack of sleep is linked to obesity, but compelling evidence was revealed when researchers analyzed food intake in a normal weight population after a short sleep night of four hours versus a night of habitual sleep of nine hours. Women had a 15 percent increase in energy intake and men had a 9 percent increase when they were sleep deprived. Women increased fat consumption by 39 percent, whereas men ate 10 percent more fat.

Both men and women decreased their physical activity levels following short sleep, but they ate an average of 300 more calories than when they were rested! If this behavior continues over the long term, it will quickly lead to weight gain and obesity—an excess of 300 calories a day will result in gaining more than two pounds a month if sustained.

Strategies to help you and your family get more sleep include the following:

  • Research shows better body composition is more common in people with early-to-bed and early-to-rise sleep patterns. If possible, commit to a 9:30 pm to 6:00 am schedule, or something similar.
  • Start a grateful log in which you write down one thing you are grateful for before you go to bed. This can be very calming and helps you look at the world in a positive way before going to sleep.
  • Turn off all screens an hour before bedtime. Make sure your kids turn their phones off overnight—you do it too! If you use your phone for an alarm, set the phone to “alarm only.”
  • Try to stay on your sleep schedule on the weekend. Staying up late on the weekend will throw the whole schedule off and make it harder for you to go to sleep at your set bedtime on Sunday night.
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