Sleeping Too Little? Too Much? You’re Gonna Get Fat

A few years ago researchers and doctors discovered that people who did not sleep enough were more likely to gain weight. That seemed obvious enough to me; not sleeping would make someone too tired to workout and more likely to sit around and eat. And, since those people were awake longer, they had more time to stuff their faces. The research findings were a lot more scientific, though.

It turned out that people who slept fewer than 8 hours a night had increased levels of Grehlin – a hormone that increases appetite – and a decrease in their levels of Leptin – a hormone that makes us feel full. So, people who slept less ate more, which, naturally, caused them to gain weight.

Doctors started urging people to get more sleep. They recommended creating a relaxing setting at bedtime (candles, nature sounds, sex?), avoiding caffeine and exercise in the evenings and keeping a notepad near the bed to jot down notes in order to clear the mind. They begged Americans to slow down a little and focus on their health instead of the million other things that plague us on a daily basis. And for the love of God, stop with the all-nighters.

And what happened? It backfired. Well, sorta.

New research out of Canada is claiming that too much sleep can also cause weight gain. In a recent study, “long sleepers” (people sleeping 9 hours or longer) were 25% more likely to gain weight than “average” sleepers. This is still less than those who didn’t sleep enough – who were 35% more likely to gain weight – but the evidence is still strong.

Now, it is possible that there are other factors involved. Like people who are overweight already and sleeping more because of it. (Or, pot. That sh*t always made me sleepy and we all know the effect it has on our appetites.) But, despite the fact that a causal relationship has not been completely proven, this study is further evidence that there is a connection between sleep and weight.

So, think about that when you get ready to hit the sack tonight. Don’t forget to set that alarm for the perfect 8 hours of sleep. Anything else and you could wake up with a killer pizza craving and a little extra badunk.

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