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.