Vickie stays lean all year long. She always looks like she’s a few weeks out from a figure competition. Everyone hates the bitch.
No, they don’t hate her, but they all want to know her secret. When asked, she just says she eats “clean.” But it’s not a willpower thing. Vicky just doesn’t like sweets or other calorie-dense foods.
Donuts? Doesn’t like them. Pizza? She’ll pass. Her secret is that she just doesn’t crave that kind of stuff. Ever. She doesn’t really know why, but that lack of junk-food jonesing makes it pretty easy for her to avoid fat gain.
Now researchers may have found a way for all of us to be a little more like Vicky: just sleep about one extra hour per night.
Researchers out of King’s College London recruited 42 people with bad sleep habits. Half slept the same amount of time they always did (the control group) and the second half was instructed to sleep longer by about 1.5 hours. Their goal was to get the 7-8 hours most experts recommend.
The extra-sleep group was also taught several strategies for better sleep, like avoiding late-day caffeine, establishing good pre-sleep rituals, and not going to bed too full or too hungry. All participants wore motion sensors on their wrists that monitored sleep. Food intake was also tracked.
By the end of the study, about half of the sleep extension group was successful, logging 52 to 90 minutes more sleep per night.
The sleep extension group reduced their intake of foods with added sugars, which included syrup, honey, and fruit juice, along with plain ol’ sugar. They also reduced their overall carb intake. They weren’t instructed to change their diets. They just did, naturally.
Researchers concluded that getting adequate sleep leads to better food choices. On the flipside, not getting good sleep makes it easier to reach for more sugar and more calorie-dense, low-nutrient crapolla.
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