Did you get enough sleep last night?
I know that I didn’t. Probably haven’t for at least the last couple of months. This could be due to a variety of reasons—not feeling well, stress, snoring boyfriend, Game of Thrones (seriously, how did I miss this over the past six years? All I can say is: Season 3…my entire world view has been shattered). There are so many excuses I know that I make for myself, and they have grown in size and scope as I get older. Long gone are the days of mid-afternoon naps and 7pm bedtimes. Being as active as I am, and as I know most of you are, sleep is essential, especially for repairing muscles. But did you know that a lack of sleep can actually cause you to gain weight? I had heard this anecdotally but never looked at it scientifically…before now (y’all really keep me honest, did you know that?).
On average, sleep-deprived people consume almost 400 extra calories per day (385 to be precise). Let’s do a little math here. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. Say you’re up late on average 3 nights per week (being conservative here). 52 weeks in a year…3 nights per week…that’s 156 nights of deprived sleep. You could be looking at an extra 60,000 calories or 17 pounds of weight gain per year. Yikes!
Remember the article we posted about the metabolic effects of chronic stress a little while ago? The stress hormone cortisol comes into play here as well. Research demonstrates an increase in blood sugar in those who haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep. In some people, that increase in blood sugar is so pronounced that on days when healthy people have gotten three hours less than their normal amount of sleep, they have levels that you might see in a pre-diabetic state—and that those levels resolve after getting normal sleep time.