We’d all like to lose a few (okay, maybe not all–there are a blessed few out there completely content with your body size–damn you all! 😉 ). We assume that it’s that extra cookie that we add on at the Starbucks counter, or when we bow to temptation and take that late night jaunt to the drive through at Mickey D’s, but what if the real culprit isn’t that juicy burger, your sugar fix, or that bag of barbeque Lays?
What if, the real culprit is not food at all, but the amount of sleep you’re getting at night? According to Shape magazine, it might be sleep undermining all your weight loss efforts.
The debate about the best way to achieve a healthy weight always revolves around eating and movement. If you want to look better, the most common suggestion is “eat less and move more.” But it’s not that simple, or even accurate. Sometimes you want to eat less and move more, but it seems impossible to do so. And there might be a good reason: Between living your life, working, and exercising, you’re forgetting to sleep enough. Or maybe, more importantly, you don’t realize that sleep is the key to being rewarded for your diet and fitness efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is nearly identical, it’s easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.
Can sleep possibly be a contributing factor in our body size?
According to the Mayo clinic, yes, “it might be. Recent studies have suggested an association between sleep duration and weight gain. Sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain.”
That there is a correlation between insufficient sleep and obesity appears undeniable.
When considering the bulk of research on the subject, the Harvard School of Public Health states:
Whether the lack of sleep is actually causing the weight gain, or is the by product of some other X-factor is where things become a little bit sticky.
Some believe that the lack of sleep does not directly cause the weight gain, but rather predisposes us to make poor decisions that indirectly are causing the weight disparity. Web MD puts it this way:
Whether lack of sleep is directly or indirectly causing those love handles you despise, it is a factor in their existence.
So, tonight, when you’re tempted to watch just one more episode of your choice on Netflix, or drink that frappuccino after 6 pm, you might just want to resist. Your waistline will say thank you.