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Demonstrated: Food Is Sleep

Apparently even the 5-2-1 Rule apparently isn't sufficient to avoid the immediate bad effects sleep deprivation has on the human body. And the more extreme practice that led my cohort to proclaim "Food Is Sleep" 25+ years ago? Research strongly suggests that it's true (in at least one respect and for some definitions of the phrase)...and that's not a good thing.

Studies of all sizes point in this direction. Another small, short-term study (16 participants; 2-weeks) is packed with interesting data and results. Blog post describing the study and results.
Full study

Excerpted from the abstract:
We found that insufficient sleep increased total daily energy expenditure by ∼5%; however, energy intake—especially at night after dinner—was in excess of energy needed to maintain energy balance. Insufficient sleep led to 0.82 ± 0.47 kg (±SD) weight gain despite changes in hunger and satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin, and peptide YY, which signaled excess energy stores. [...] Sex differences showed women, not men, maintained weight during adequate sleep, whereas insufficient sleep reduced dietary restraint and led to weight gain in women. Our findings suggest that increased food intake during insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide energy needed to sustain additional wakefulness; yet when food is easily accessible, intake surpasses that needed. We also found that transitioning from an insufficient to adequate/recovery sleep schedule decreased energy intake, especially of fats and carbohydrates, and led to −0.03 ± 0.50 kg weight loss. These findings provide evidence that sleep plays a key role in energy metabolism. Importantly, they demonstrate physiological and behavioral mechanisms by which insufficient sleep may contribute to overweight and obesity.

On the anecdotal front, my personal experience (and what I see in the mirror) reflects the study's results, extended out to a lifetime of habitual and ofttimes extreme sleep deprivation. Though I do tend to crave milk, bananas, and protein when I go for two days or more of 0-2 hours of sleep/24.

Alas, the 12 Step Sleep Rehab Program aims to "make falling asleep enjoyable again" and that's never been among my problems.

I read Dr. Willam Dement's The Promise of Sleep back when it was published (and I was diagnosed with sleep apnea) in 2000. I don't see anything at end-your-sleep-deprivation.com that looks all that useful. Hmmmm.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC)
Twenty-five-plus years ago! Yeah, I guess it was, wasn't it? And Denny's was there for us when the sun peeped blearily through the windows of the music party...
Nov. 20th, 2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
Whoa. "As sleep loss induces significant safety impairments in cognitive performance equivalent to alcohol intoxication, we do not believe that experimentally induced sleep loss outside of a controlled laboratory environment is safe."

Nov. 20th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Interesting reading this in a half-fog after having gotten up for a 3:30 a.m. meeting this morning. Of course, I'm not the world's best sleeper anyway as nearly anything will wake me or keep me from falling asleep: light, noise, ...
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Hm, I've always said that sleep is good food, but this gives that thought a whole different context.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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