BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Getting enough sleep can keep people from gaining weight, according to new research at the University of Colorado.

Fatty foods and a sedentary lifestyle can be the culprits for the obesity epidemic in America. But now researchers have learned too little rest can also widen a waistline.

“The concept is that people who don’t get enough sleep may be prone to developing excess body fat or obesity over time,” said study co-author Dr. Bob Eckel, CU Professor of Medicine.

Researchers at CU monitored the sleep of 16 young, healthy adults for about two weeks. Sometimes they were allowed just five hours of sleep per night, other times nine hours.

“We found that five hours of sleep, interestingly enough, increased energy expenditure,” Eckel said. “That means people were more active when they only slept for five hours versus nine.”

Eckel says those who were sleep deprived consumed more calories, eating smaller breakfasts, but binging on after dinner snacks.

“These people were more active, but then they compensated by eating more and actually gained weight,” he said.

Study participants put on about two pounds in a week.

“The take away is seven to nine hours of sleep looks good.”

The best advice is eat right, exercise and get more sleep for fewer pounds.


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