Having trouble sleeping? A new study shows that just four nights of inadequate sleep can make you gain weight by changing the way your body stores fat and increasing your risk of obesity.
According to Daily Mail, the new study was conducted by a team at Pennsylvania State University. It took place over 17 days and featured 15 healthy men in their 20s.
The first week the participants got 10 hours of sleep in the comfort of their home. Then they slept at Penn State’s Clinical Research Center for 10 nights.
While at the clinic they were fed a high-fat, calorie-dense dinner of chili and pasta and limited to no more than five hours of sleep each night for four consecutive nights.
Researchers took blood work from the participants and found that sleep deprivation led the body to produce higher levels of insulin. It also resulted in faster clearance of fats from the meal. This fat is then stored in the body and leads to weight gain.
They also found participants felt less satisfied by a high-calorie meal when they consumed it while sleep deprived than when they were well-rested.
“‘cross a lifetime of exposure to short sleep, this could increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, or other metabolic diseases,” lead author Kelly Ness, a former graduate student at Penn State, told Daily Mail.
Researchers say insufficient sleep has been known to raise the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer, the news outlet reports. Now, they’re encouraging doctors and policymakers to do more outreach so people can be warned about the dangers of poor sleep habits.
Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.