Sleep More, Eat Less


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Sleepy people don't make healthy food choices and tend to overeat, according to a study at Columbia University and the New York Obesity Research Center.

“Our data show that reducing sleep increases energy and fat intakes, which may explain some of the association observed between sleep and obesity,” says Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a NYORC research associate. “If sustained, the dietary choices made by individuals undergoing short sleep would predispose to obesity and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”

On two occasions, St-Onge and her colleagues kept 13 men and 13 women in a controlled environment for six days. Participants spent nine hours a day in bed during the first session, and only four hours in bed during the second session. Researchers found that people — especially women — ate more than 300 calories more per day when they were tired compared to when they were well-rested.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention conference on Tuesday.

For more on the importance of good sleep, read “How to Take a Nap at Work” from the January issue of Outside.

–Whitney Dreier

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