(Photo: Christophe Bertolin/Landov)
Once in a while I stay up a little too late and end up feeling poorly the next day at work. Not only am I cranky, but all I want is to eat comfort food. Finally there’s a study to validate my cravings.
Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, research associate of the New York Obesity Research Center, studied 13 men and 13 women over two spans of six days each and concluded that when you don’t get the suggested seven to nine hours of sleep you need, you are likely to eat more calories than you normally would.
The participants slept nine hours per night during the first six days and only four hours the second round of six days. For the first four days of each period volunteers were kept on a strict diet, but on the fifth and sixth days of the second period, when they were tired and allowed to eat whatever they wanted, the participants ate an average of 300 more calories than when they were well rested.
Sleepy women overate the most, consuming 329 calories more than when they were well rested compared to the 263 calories men overate. Most of the extra calories were from high-fat foods, like ice cream.
Eating an extra 300 calories a day could pack on an extra 30 pounds of weight within a year, putting you at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
Here are a few tips to get a better night’s sleep:
-- Make a bedtime and stick to it. Your body will get used to it and start winding down at that time.
-- Start a bedtime routine: take a bath or listen to music about an hour before bed to unwind.
-- Set the mood: Create a relaxing environment that’s quiet, cool and comfortable.
-- Lay off the food and caffeine before bed.