People who sleep less, eat more.  Are you one of them?

The results of an analysis of 11 studies comparing sleep deprived people with those who were not, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition last week, showed that the sleep deprived group ate significantly more fat, less protein, took in an average of 385 calories more a day, but were not more active.


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Previous studies have shown that lack of sleep affects hormones that regulate our appetite. The less we sleep, the hungrier we are, the more we eat. This study offers insight into about how much more – 385 calories on average, which is about the amount in a ½ cup of shelled peanuts, or two caramel Grande lattes, or 1 ½ slices of pizza. Eat this much extra a day and in nine days you’ll gain a pound. Do this for a year, you’ll gain 40 pounds!

If you’ve gained weight and don’t know why – it maybe that you’re not sleeping enough. Try sleeping more - this may be the only time you’ll have ‘everything to lose and nothing to gain!’

In 2015, The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) revised its sleep time recommendations to the following:

Newborns (0-3 months)                            14-17 hours each day

Infants (4-11 months)                              12-15 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years)                                11-14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5)                                   10-13 hours

School age children (6-13)                         9-11 hours

Teenagers (14-17)                                     8-10 hours

Younger adults (18-25)                              7-9 hours

Adults (26-64)                                           7-9 hours

Older adults (65+)                                       7-8 hours    


The NSF suggests the following ways to develop better sleep hygiene (those things you do to prepare for sleep)

Create a Zen bedroom

Minimizing or eliminate noise, if possible. If not, then aim for consistent noise white noise) rather than intermittent noise, like that from a TV.

Keep the temperature cool, between 60-67.


Avoid bright light 30-60 minutes before bed.

Dim or turnoff bright overhead lights and lamps and switch off electronic devices (computers, cell phones, etc.)


Develop a bedtime routine

Read in bed, take a warm shower or bath before bed.

Go to bed at the same time every night


Avoid stimulants 4-6 hours before bedtime

Stay away from tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and nicotine. All of them keep you awake.

            Choose calming exercise in the evening, rather than intense exercise.

            If you exercise in the evening, try yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong. They help 

            relieve stress and bring about calm.


            Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than you usually do.

                       If you sleep less than what is recommended, increase your sleep time gradually. Try

                       going to bed 15 minutes earlier. When you are used to that, add another 15 minutes until

                       you reach your sleep goal.

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control – Insufficient sleep is a public health problem


National Sleep Foundation

            Sleep and obesity



         Sleep hygiene


            Sleep debt   

            Sleep tips


Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES is the principal of Associates for Health Education and Behavior, LLC, in Sparta, a practice focused on improving health through education. Her office offers individual and group health education, and individual health behavior change guidance.  For more information please see  To contact Dr. Hayden, email her

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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