Sleeping less than seven hours a night can lead to weight gain

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Experts from King's College London looked over 11 previous studies involving a total of 172 participants to work out if sleep duration can impact weight gain.

People aged 18 to 64 are advised to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night by the UK National Sleep Foundation, and if you get the recommended amount then good news - you’re not in danger of eating more. But get less than seven hours of shut eye a night and researchers have found you could eat as much as an extra 385 calories a day, which works out as adding a pound a week to your weight.

The team further discovered that is isn't lack of sleep causing people to physically eat more, but rather it leads them to choosing unhealthy foods instead of snacking on fruit or veg and food high in protein, because they felt they deserved it.

“These ?ndings suggest that short sleep heighten the motivation to seek food for reward,” the authors note.

“If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain,” study author Dr. Gerda Pot previously said. “And ultimately to obesity and (being) overweight.”

Researchers also highlighted that staying up later was another factor in people consuming more calories.

“We simply have more hours to eat,” Dr. Pot pointed out.

The team advise people to pay attention to their sleeping habits and see how they impact their diet.

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