Fit Tip #15 - Getting Healthy at the beach in Panama with SunWave Fitness. Does lack of sleep influence weight gain? If you suspect the answer is yes because you have experienced munchies on those days after you’ve slept badly and for too short a time, you are right!
According to a study from Columbia University, 30 people in their 30s and 40s ate an average of 300 more calories after being limited to about four hours of sleep a night for four nights than they did when they could sleep as long as they wanted to for four nights.
And in an earlier study at the University of Chicago, men and women who weren’t allowed to sleep for more than five hours a night for two weeks ate 220 more calories a day from snacks, particularly at night, than they did when they could sleep more than seven hours a night.
One antidote besides getting to bed earlier to at least increase your chances of getting an optimal 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, is to exercise at a moderate intensity.
A study was done by Stanford University that recruited 66 people aged 55 or older who exercised less than 1 hour per week and had some mild to moderate sleep complaints. The group was divided roughly in half so one group were assigned 2 hours per week of aerobic exercises, stretching, muscle strengthening and balance exercises. They were also instructed to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at home at least three days a week. The other group was offered weekly classes on nutrition and other topics but weren’t told to exercise.
After 12 months, the exercisers reported feeling more rested in the morning than the control group. Brain waves were also measured and showed that the exercisers fell into a stable sleep four minutes sooner and awoke fewer times during the first third of the night than the control group.
So, here’s just another good reason to make physical activity a priority in your life. Besides lots of other health benefits, it even has a positive effect on the length and quality of sleep which helps keep those unwanted pounds off!
See you in class!