For many years, it has been a common knowledge that getting less than required hours of sleep leads to higher chances of obesity in both adults and children. If adults sleep for less than 6 hours and children for less than 10 hours, weight gain is a threat that looms dangerously over such sleep-deprived individuals. This fact has been researched and found true but what has been even more surprising is that how quick and adverse are its causes for even a short period of 7 days!
The University of Colorado had conducted a sleep study on several men and women for a period of 2 weeks. They were divided into 2 equal groups. Group A was kept sleep deprived for the 1st week with unlimited access to food and group B was provided with both adequate amount of sleep and lots of food during their 1st week. The researchers tracked their sleeping patterns (by controlling how much sleep they got), metabolism (by measuring the input of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide) and eating habits to ascertain few groundbreaking facts. The following week, the conditions were reversed with group A being given an adequate amount of sleep and group B being deprived of sleep.
The measurements were duly taken and compared. What was noticed that when the participants were sleep deprived, they had small breakfasts binged on carbohydrates and had a lot of food during dinner. Even though they lost weight because the body was awake during their biological night clock and that led to extra metabolism, it was deemed to be a very unhealthy way of losing weight for the calories they knocked off by sleeping less was overly compensated by excessive carbohydrate intake. On the other hand, the ones who slept properly had proper meals with adequate portions of carbohydrates, proteins and fibres. In fact, during the changeover in the middle of 2 weeks, Group A regained some of their lost weight with their eating habits resorting to properly proportioned meals and Group B behaving how group A did during their sleep deprived phase.
So, when sleep hours are adversely affected, our eating habits change and so does our rate of metabolism. The research was further enhanced by the findings of The Annals of Internal Medicine who found that the sleep-deprived individuals had undergone a change in their fat cell structure. The fat cells were less unaffected by insulin which ran the risk of diabetes and obesity. Essentially the fat cells of the 20-year-olds had aged to that of 40-year-olds which is quite astoundingly frightening.
This research showed what happens to the body when we don’t sleep as we should. Working extra hard during the times by staying up late when exams are approaching or an office project deadline is nearby will certainly put your body to risk to obesity and diabetes. Even though the research wasn’t conducted on long-term effects of sleep deprivation, one can only assume it is more terrifying. Suffice to say, we should sleep properly with a minimum of 6 hours for adults and 10 hours for children to enjoy a healthy life.