‚ÄčAccording to a survey, one in every three Americans is not getting sufficient sleep regularly. Experts say that sufficient sleep is as important as exercise and diet for a healthy body and mind.

What happens when you don’t sleep enough?

When you are not sleeping enough, your brains become liable to make bad decisions. The frontal lobe of the brain becomes dull. It is the same part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control and decision-making. A lack of sleep makes the brain work as if it’s drunk. You lack the mental clarity to make sound decisions.

When you are sleep deprived, the reward centers of your brain become more active and seek compensations that may feel good. So while you can say no to comfort food when you are not short on sleep, you are not able to say no to another jumbo slice of a cake if you are sleep-deprived.

Clinical research has shown that late-night snacking rose significantly among those who were sleep-starved. They also preferred high-carb snacks. Another study showed that sleep-starved people chose snacks with double the fat than those who were taking eight hours of sleep on average. A relatively new study has found that people who are not sleeping enough tend to eat a higher quantity of all foods. A review of different studies has shown that lack of sleep leads people to ear energy-intensive high-carb food.

To sum up, a sleepy brain often triggers a craving for junk food and also weakens our ability to say no to excess or unhealthy eating. All these factors counter the weight loss efforts and on the contrary induce more weight.

Sleep & metabolism

The brain uses sleep as nutrition and it needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you sleep less, the body of even the most determined person will seek sumptuous compensations from you.

How you gain weight

Sleep-deprivation may not be the only factor leading to weight gain. There are several other factors like genetics, diet, exercise, stress, among others that contribute to weight gain. But in the case of sleep, the evidence is overwhelming: weight invariably goes up when sleep is less than normal. And, it does not take long for the lack of sleep to reflect on weight. Research shows that one week of 5-hour sleeping at night results in a weight gain of two pounds.

Final thoughts

There is a growing volume of evidence that suggests that the lack of sleep and weight loss is closely linked. Many sleep and weight loss researches suggest that when the sleep drops, the weight gain picks up.