Wednesday Trivia: Why Losing Sleep Means Gaining Weight

March 13, 2013 | By | Comments (4)

Woman in Bed

How much weight do you think you’d gain if you slept for only five hours a night, instead of nine?  A new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder has found the answer, and it’s significant: You’d gain about two pounds in a mere five days.

For the study, researchers monitored 16 healthy adults in a controlled hospital setting, and divided them into two groups (one could sleep 5 hours a night, the other could snooze for nine). Food and snacks (both healthy and junky) were available 24 hours a day.

While overtired participants burned 5 percent more energy than their well-rested counterparts, they also consumed 6 percent more in calories. What’s more, they eschewed hearty breakfasts in favor of big post-dinner snacks.

So if you’re looking to lose weight—or at least stay the weight you are—maintaining a good sleep schedule is key. Need help getting to nodding off? We’ve got tips for how to get a good night’s sleep.


  1. Dr. Catherine Al-Meten

    My question is this: Is the weight gain related to eating more because you’re awake more hours, or because you are not sleeping enough?

    March 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm
  2. Julia Edelstein

    Hi Catherine! I think it’s a combination. The late-night snacking seems to be the major culprit—and that happens both because you’re awake, and because being tired makes you extra-hungry.

    March 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm
  3. Lauren Atwell

    Julia, from one blogger to another, change the headline from “Sleeps” to “Sleep”

    March 13, 2013 at 8:41 pm
  4. ldhoffmann

    So what do I do if I’m woken up every hour and a half or two with hot flashes ? I can’t take hormones nor do I want to take sedatives… A bit of a catch-22.
    I’d love some advice because I haven’t slept in 5 years !!!!

    March 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm

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