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Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

5 Reasons Why Sleepy People Consume More Calories

While the act of balancing calories is mostly attributed to nutritional intake and exercise output, sleep is another factor to juggle. In fact, sleep has shown to affect a healthy metabolism, and may even cause increased calorie consumption when deprived of it!


5 Reasons Why Sleepy People Consume More Calories

1. Desire or Need for Quick Energy
If a 20-minute nap is out of reach, you may be grabbing for sugary, caffeinated drinks or snacks instead. When the body is deprived of sleep, it naturally kicks in cravings toward more simple carbs high in sugar. While soda, cappuccinos, and donuts may supply the body with quick energy, these "sugar highs" may last a mere 30 to 45 minutes and lead to energy crashes. Interestingly, while some studies do show people consume more carbs when tired, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no change in carbohydrate intake, but rather increases in fat and protein. But regardless of the source, sleep deprivation causes the drive to consume more calories. If wondering what to eat for energy when tired, try these healthier alternatives!

2. Altered Hunger Hormones
Hunger hormones, also known as leptin and ghrelin, work to control appetite; ghrelin helps stimulate hunger while induce leptin induces satiety. But sleep deprivation can disturb the efficiency of hunger hormones, mostly causing reductions in leptin and increases in ghrelin, subsequently growing the risk of excessive food intake. A study published in Obesity further reiterated elevations in ghrelin levels is associated with higher calorie consumption, primarily from snacks in the form of carbohydrates.

3. Disrupted Brain Activity
Aside from hormones, brain disruptions may lead to inhibitions in good decision-making. In a study published in Nature Communications, sleep-deprived individuals were more likely to prefer high-calorie foods compared to when they were well-rested. With the use of brain scans, researchers noticed altered activity in parts of the brain; sleep-deprived individuals displayed reduced responses in the cortical area of the frontal lobe, the portion of the brain that regulates decision-making, while exhibiting intensive activation in the amygdala, the portion responsible for the regulation of basic emotions. The accumulation of altered brain activities help researchers explain why people make more poor dietary choices and eat more when feeling fatigued.

4. Heightened Emotional Responses
The cycle of stress and insufficient sleep can be vicious, as stress can keep the brain from quieting down come bedtime while emotions are likely to be heightened following a restless night. To compensate for such emotions, some individuals turn to food as a comfort mechanism, mostly desiring and craving fat and carb-laden sources.

5. The Sleepless Cycle
The continuous, sleepless cycle may start forming small, unhealthy behaviors that can ultimately transpire into poor, lifelong habits. For instance, if you stay up throughout the night, you may order a large cup of coffee the next morning instead of a smaller size; and if you stay up late the next night, you may oversleep and miss out on consuming a nutritious breakfast. Before you know it, you are eating only one meal per day and snacking on fat and sugar-laden foods to supply energy for a 12-hour shift. The bottom line is this: You cannot let life get in the way of your sleep hygiene. Not only does sleep directly affect physical health, but emotional and mental well-being.

How to Burn More Calories While Sleeping

You may be wondering, "Does sleeping burn calories?" Simply answered, yes! From breathing lungs, to blinking eyes, to digesting foods, the body is always burning calories to keep vital physiological processes running efficiently. However, you may burn more calories while sleeping by...

...focusing on deep sleep.
Deep sleeping can result to greater caloric burn than simply laying in bed awake. A study found that men lost more than three times as much weight over eight hours of sleep than eight hours of lying awake. Focus on deep sleep by shutting off all electronics at least two hours leading up to bed, turning off the lights, and cozying up in a comfortable bed with supportive pillows. Sleeping in a cool climate can also burn additional calories, as the body must work harder to regulate body temperature.

...increasing activity levels.
Being active throughout the day not only helps facilitate a better night's rest, but can help burn more calories while sleeping. In addition to that "afterburn" following rigorous exercise, stimulate muscle growth with strength training. While each pound of fat burns two calories daily, every pound of muscle requires approximately six calories a day just to sustain itself! In addition to exercise, promote muscle growth and repair with these 10 best post-workout foods.

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