Not getting enough sleepor having lots of bad night’s sleep in a rownot only leaves you feeling tired, it may lead to packing on extra pounds. What gives? Poor sleep makes it hard to control your appetite, which can lead to health problems, including obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Many previous studies have shown a link between poor sleep and a higher body mass index, or BMI, but those typically relied on participants’ memories to know how well they slept. But thanks to sleep apps on fitness trackers and smartphones, that’s a thing of the past.
In a newstudyout this week, researchers tracked sleep quality for 120-thousand people for up to two years using the high tech trackers and their data backs up what we’ve seen in previous studies. People with BMIs of 30 or higher – which is considered obese by the CDC – tend to sleep less and have more variable sleep patterns. But the thing is, it doesn’t take much less sleep to see the effect. Those with BMIs over 30 only slept about 15 minutes less than those on the smaller side.
When you don’t get good sleep, it’s harder to control your appetite and there’s a scientific reason why. Levels of a hormone called ghrelin spike when you’re sleep deprived, while levels of another hormone, leptin, go down and that leaves you feeling hungry. But in your tired state, you’re not craving carrots and kale, you want cookies and chips and that’s where the weight gain comes in. Want more control over your appetite? Try to get those recommended seven to nine hours of ZZZs every night.