Sleep Yourself Thin | Reader's Digest

Sleep Yourself Thin

Why you should think twice before you cut back on sleep.

By Ellen Michaud with Julie Bain from Sleep to Be Sexy Smart and Slim

Can you sleep yourself thin? No, not quite. But an amazing study of 68,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School reveals that women who sleep five hours a night are 32 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds or more as they get older than women who sleep seven hours or more.

Common sense says that someone who’s awake and running around should be using up more calories than someone who’s in bed. Running around should make them skinnier, right? But the study, conducted over a 16-year period, reveals that even when the women who slept longer ate more, they still gained less than women who slept less.

It’s true that the group that slept longer also tended to exercise a little more. And it could be, admitted the researchers, that people who are a bit sleep deprived could metabolize calories less efficiently than those who are better rested.

But no one knows for sure. Until they do, think twice before you cut back on sleep.

Over the long haul, it may make you fat.