The time we hit the hay has been found to affect our levels of hunger the following day, meaning we may eat more than is necessary -and of the wrong foods. When it comes to diet and exercise, we all know the common advice: eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, drink eight glasses of water and walk 10,000 steps. But we never really talk about how sleep can affect our weight gain. Research released by Jawbone, who analysed the data users of their fitness tracker UP, shows that the time we go to bed may be influencing our inability to shift the pounds. They found that users went to bed at an average time of 11.23 pm.
Users of a ‘normal weight’ who got an early night, at 9.30 pm, logged 220 fewer calories the next day, compared to those who went to bed at 2.30 am, suggesting that if we tuck in early, we’re less hungry the next day. The data supports scientific evidence that suggests poor sleep can increase hormones that regulate our hunger and feelings of fullness.
Our bedtime seems to correspond with what we eat the next day -and how much of it we eat. In studies that restrict sleep, people eat more calories -particularly from snacks implying that better sleep might help people feel less hungry or have more willpower to stick to healthy choices. Jawbone also found that people who have an inconsistent bedtime routine eat, on average, an extra 245 calories per week.
Early birds- The research found that people who got into bed early were more likely to eat more veggies, fruits, high-fibre carbohydrates, lean proteins and heart-healthier fats. Night owls- Those who go to bed later were found to consume more caffeine and alcohol, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, processed meats and saturated fats.
Tucking in early might help us eat less and choose healthier foods. Jawbone does note that while the data can reveal links, it can’t prove that sleep is the cause. We can make small lifestyle adjustments like going to bed a bit earlier -to keep fighting the battle of the bulge.