Food for Thought: Sleep and weight gain

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On average Americans get 6.8 hours of sleep a night.

In 1910, Americans slept an average of 9 hours a night. This change may be part of the explanation for Americans weight gain over the years.

If you do not get enough sleep, you may crave more food, especially unhealthy food.

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience had normal, healthy, non-smoking young men get a normal night sleep at home and then a sleepless night in the laboratory.

Both nights they ate the same dinner. The morning after the sleepless night, the men ate more snack foods. Brain images taken after each night showed differences in brain activity that would account for the desire to eat more.

In a second study, just one week of sleeping only 5 hours a night lead to a weight gain of two pounds.

Experts recommend you shut off electronics an hour before bed and go to bed at the same time each night to improve your sleep.

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