Less Sleep May Increase Risk of Obesity

A new study suggests that inadequate sleep or less than 7 hours of sleep every day may trigger an increase in your risk of eating and drinking more because you are less focused.

Secondary Eating

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a survey that found that the lack of sleep is directly associated with more time spent in secondary eating and drinking. The study implies that lack of sleep is a sure pathway to increased calorie intake, mostly in the form of beverages and foods with high-fat content. Consuming these calories increase your risk of obesity.

The association between short naps and weight risk is apparent, according to Gabriel S. Tajeu, a postdoctoral fellow at UAB’s Department of Epidemiology and lead researcher. Tajeu further adds that his team is looking into whether there’s a connection between the short sleep and the urge to eat processed foods. They also want to establish if daytime naps affect the craving for beverages other than water such as sugar-sweetened sodas while lazing around.

Details of the Study

For this study, Tajeu and his team analyzed data taken from 28,150 American adults from the ages 21-65 years. The participants were part of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), and the study conducted between 2006 and 2008. The researchers sought to determine how much time the subjects spent on secondary eating and drinking with the amount of sleep being an independent variable.

The team used Estimated Multivariable Regression Models, a technique used to analyze multiple variables, including the participant’s demographic characteristic such as race, gender, and socio-economic characteristics. They also compared weekday versus weekend participation in ATUS.

This way, the researchers could establish the link between short sleep and eating and drinking behaviors accordingly.

At the end of the analysis, Tajeu and his team found participants who slept for more than 7 hours had lower rates of secondary eating compared to their counterparts who slept for less than 7 hours each day.

The Results

According to the researchers, the subjects who didn’t have enough sleep took part in secondary eating for an extra 8.7 minutes every day, which was in sharp contrast with other participants who had enough sleep. They also engaged in secondary feeding for another 28.6 minutes every 24 hours. During the weekends, they were more likely to spend 21.28 minutes in secondary eating. However, the team did not explain the science behind this behavior.

The results of this study were published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Tips to Sleep for the Doctor-recommended Eight Hours

You don’t have to be part of the statistics of secondary eating. All you need to do is to make some tweaks here and there to help you improve your sleeping pattern. These tips will help you get started.

Make your Bed Comfortable

Yes. The primary reason most people don’t fall asleep quickly is that their beds are way too uncomfortable. You can, however, make your sleeping place cozy by getting a good mattress. On top of that, consider adding a comforter. The biggest question, however, is – should I pick a polyester or cotton comforter?  A good one should be hypoallergenic, easy to clean and durable. Of course, you’re better off with something pleasing to the eyes to make your bedroom beautiful.

Lose Some Weight

You’re likely to lose sleep if you’re overweight. So, consider enrolling in your local gym to help you shed off the extra pounds. You can also opt for morning jogs. The long and short of it is that you have to keep your body moving to enable you to get some quality shut-eye later in the night.

Go to Bed at the Same Time Every day

Sure, you may have some late nights, but develop a habit of going to bed at the same time every day. The idea is to train your body and mind to get into a relaxation mode a couple of hours before sleep.

On top of that, you should avoid drinking things such as coffee or beer before going to bed. Also, make sure that you don’t your smartphone or laptop between the sheets.  Switch off your TV a few minutes before sleeping as well.

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