Over the past 5-10 years, countless studies have been released documenting the link between poor sleep, poor diet and weight gain. It seemed like basic knowledge that if your sleeping patterns are out of wack or the quality of your shut-eye is below par, your body will crave ‘energy-dense, rewarding foods and non-homeostatic eating’, or so we thought…
Recently, a new study has emerged shedding more light on the connection between sleep and weight, and it’s not exactly what we thought…
Findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey showed a strong link between those who have low quality or small amounts of sleep and those who are overweight, but there’s actually little connecting a lack of sleep with poor dietary choices.
This study and many more on the same subject shows that short sleep increases your risk of metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes. But few studies have clearly defined the link between all aspects of health and sleep. During this study, researchers analysed the connection between sleep duration, diet and metabolic health markers on over 1600 adults in the UK. They measured sleeping patterns and kept food diaries for 3 to 4 days, and the results delivered some interesting findings.
Among the markers recorded, diet, glucose and lipid metabolism, metabolic criteria, thyroid function, and inflammation was observed in the UK adults. From their findings, researchers found that ‘sleep duration was negatively associated with body mass index…and waist circumference’ but ‘sleep duration was not associated with any dietary measures’.
What this means is that when your sleep isn’t great, your body becomes stressed in a number of ways: it stores fat, your metabolism slows down and overall your health takes a hit, leaving you susceptible to a number of weight-related conditions.
And, contrary to popular belief, it means your bad sleep patterns don’t excuse your bad food choices. That’s on you!
Though the study observed a few limitations such as relying on participants’ word on sleep length, rather than actual measurment, the lack of questioning on napping, and the disregard for participants work schedules, it still draws strong connections between sleeping and weight gain that were previously not observed.