Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Less sleep leads to more eating and more weight gain, according to new study

Date:
March 11, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
Sleeping just five hours a night over a workweek and having unlimited access to food caused participants in a new study to gain nearly two pounds of weight.

Sleeping just five hours a night over a workweek and having unlimited access to food caused participants in a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder to gain nearly two pounds of weight.

The study, performed in collaboration with the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, suggests that sufficient sleep could help battle the obesity epidemic.

"I don't think extra sleep by itself is going to lead to weight loss," said Kenneth Wright, director of CU-Boulder's Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory, which led the study. "Problems with weight gain and obesity are much more complex than that. But I think it could help. If we can incorporate healthy sleep into weight-loss and weight-maintenance programs, our findings suggest that it may assist people to obtain a healthier weight." But further research is needed to test that hypothesis, Wright added.

Previous research has shown that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, but the reasons for extra pounds were unclear. In the new study, published March. 11 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers show that, while staying awake longer requires more energy, the amount of food study participants ate more than offset the extra calories burned.

"Just getting less sleep, by itself, is not going to lead to weight gain," Wright said. "But when people get insufficient sleep, it leads them to eat more than they actually need."

For the study, researchers monitored 16 young, lean, healthy adults who lived for about two weeks at the University of Colorado Hospital, which is equipped with a "sleep suite" for controlling sleep opportunities -- by providing a quiet environment and by regulating when the lights are on and off -- and a sealed room that allows researchers to measure how much energy participants are using based on the amount of oxygen they breathe in and the amount of carbon dioxide they breathe out.

All participants spent the first three days with the opportunity to sleep nine hours a night and eating meals that were controlled to give participants only the calories they needed to maintain their weight in order to establish baseline measurements. But after the first few days, the participants were split into two groups: one that spent five days with only five hours to sleep in and one that spent five days with nine hours of sleep opportunity. In both groups, participants were offered larger meals and had access to snack options throughout the day ranging from fruit and yogurt to ice cream and potato chips. After the five-day period, the groups switched.

On average, the participants who slept for up to five hours a night burned 5 percent more energy than those who slept up to nine hours a night, but they consumed 6 percent more calories. Those getting less sleep also tended to eat smaller breakfasts but binge on after-dinner snacks. In fact, the total amount of calories consumed in evening snacks was larger than the calories that made up any individual meal. The current findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that overeating at night may contribute to weight gain.

"When people are sleep-restricted, our findings show they eat during their biological nighttime when internal physiology is not designed to be taking in food," said Wright, who is already working on a new study to better determine the implications of when people are eating not just what they're eating.

Wright and his colleagues also found that men and women responded differently to having access to unrestricted food. Men gained some weight even with adequate sleep when they could eat as much as they wanted, while women simply maintained their weight when they had adequate sleep, regardless of how much food was available. Both men and women gained weight when they were only allowed to sleep for up to five hours.

Other co-authors of the new study include Rachel Markwarld and Mark Smith, who were both postdoctoral researchers in Wright's lab, as well as School of Medicine faculty members Edward Melanson, Leigh Perreault, Robert Eckel and Janine Higgins from the Anschutz Medical Campus.

The research was funded with grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in collaboration with the Biological Sciences Initiative and CU-Boulder's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Less sleep leads to more eating and more weight gain, according to new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311151112.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2013, March 11). Less sleep leads to more eating and more weight gain, according to new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311151112.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Less sleep leads to more eating and more weight gain, according to new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130311151112.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins