Researchers claim that the lack of sleep may increase your waistline. A small study revealed that people who don’t get enough shut-eye tend to eat more. And what makes it worse is those extra calories wind up around your belly. Now, this research didn’t apply to our local insomniacs. It is more so for individuals whose lifestyles prevent them from counting z’s.
“Our work focused on people who chose to sleep less,” explained study author Dr. Virend Somers, a professor of cardiovascular medicine with the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. “It wasn’t about insomnia, so much as, say, a student in college who decides they find it necessary to sleep less for a while in order to get their work done.”
“But what we found is that when a relatively young, healthy, and lean person is sleep-deprived and has unrestricted access to food, he or she eats 300 more calories per day,” said Somers. Luckily, the extra snacks didn’t lead to a considerable weight gain, but it did lead to an 11% increase in visceral fat. “That’s the fat that wraps around the belly and the internal organs,” he noted. “The fat which you really can’t see. But it’s the most dangerous fat.”
Lack of Sleep Leads to Visceral Fat
Visceral fat is fat stored deep inside the belly and wrapped around the organs. Unfortunately, that type of fat can lead to blood vessel and heart disease, including hypertension, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. Somers and his colleagues noted that more than a third of American adults fail to get enough sleep. They explored the impact of sleep loss on fat accumulation by conducting a controlled lab. The team found that participants’ protein intake rose 13%, and fat intake increased 17% during the sleepless phase.
We should all think twice about choosing non-essential activities over our sleep! Are you guilty of putting your sleep last? Comment below!