Too little sleep makes you fat? Researcher has surprising answer

Deepak Gupta January 31, 2022
Updated 2022/01/31 at 6:12 PM

A healthy lifestyle consists of a multitude of facets. Of course, fresh air, physical activity and a balanced diet are important. Despite all this, you should not miss out on your sleep. Too less sleep can undo much of what would normally get your body into shape.

Too little sleep has unexpected consequences

For years, Michigan State University nutritionist Robin Tucker has studied the effects of student sleep patterns on their mental and physical health. During this period, Tucker has already published various studies. One such piece of research, published by the researcher in 2021 in the Journal of American College Health, highlights how sleep deprivation can affect weight in young people.

Tucker accompanied around 60 students through their first semester at the university. Within just four and a half months, some of the test subjects gained a good four kilograms. They stated that they had not eaten noticeably differently. However, the students slept an hour less on average than those who maintained their weight.

Further studies have further confirmed the thesis that too little sleep affects your body weight, reports Der Standard. They would sometimes have concentrated on the eating habits as a result of comparatively short sleep. Tucker and her colleagues brought important insights to light through their research. “Poor sleep makes us eat more and shift our taste preferences,” the magazine quotes. “Sooner or later this can lead to people gaining weight if they don’t sleep well.”

Financial stress, little sleep and poor diet

So we now know: Too little sleep can also damage the body and even push you to overeat. But what happens when there is another factor involved – such as a pandemic or other types of stress? Tucker and her team got to the bottom of this question as well. They published a corresponding study in the journal Behavioral Sciences.

“A total of 1,280 students from three major US universities participated in the study. The results showed that higher financial stress was associated with lower consumption of vegetables, fruit, fiber and calcium, higher consumption of sugar from sugar-sweetened beverages, and higher dietary risk score.”

Chen Du et al. (via Behavioral Sciences)

The team also found a positive correlation between financial stress and nutritional risk ratings. This occurred primarily among students who reported poor sheep quality. If you want to live longer, you should also keep an eye on your sleep rhythm and your financial management in addition to your diet.

Sources: The Standard; “Health behavior changes associated with weight gain among first-year international students studying at an American university” (2021, Journal of American College Health); “Insufficient Sleep and Poor Sleep Quality Completely Mediate the Relationship between Financial Stress and Dietary Risk among Higher Education Students” (2021, Behavioral Sciences)

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