Dieters are dedicated to their goal, they have to be, to get the required exercise, eat right, drink right and sleep right....heh...what? Yes, sleep does affect your diet, not enough sleep can actually add unwanted pounds.
A complex study in Norfolk Virginia by a group of researchers from the Eastern Virginia Medical School came to very simple conclusion: If you don't get enough sleep regularly, you will gain weight.
Their findings showed that as sleep time diminished, the body mass index increased, and even more so for obese individuals. (Body mass index or BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height. Those of normal weight have a BMI less than 25.)
It's important to realize that very little sleep can make a huge difference. Researchers have found that only 20 minutes a night might solve the added weight issue. It seems people with normal weight slept an average of 16 minutes more a day than the heavier participants. Generally, the larger participants slept about 1.8 hours a week less. I'm sure all your hard work is worth the extra 20 minutes of sleep to maintain your healthy diet.
I know what you're thinking? If I can gain weight sleeping less, can I lose weight sleeping more?
Well, there's no actual proof that you can lose weight but a research team from Laval University, in Quebec City found the ideal sleep zone for weight loss: 7-8 hours a night. (This is consistent with the Better Sleep Council guidelines and most in the sleep industry.) Researchers found if you sleep 5-6 hours a night, whether you're dieting, exercising or neither, you can expect to gain pounds.
Scientists believe that sleep deprivation may cause metabolic and hormonal irregularities, reducing your leptin levels, a hormone involved in regulating your appetite, which in turn encourages weight gain.
Researchers offer a word of caution: Even if you get plenty of sleep regularly, there's no guarantee you'll lose weight. However, in this study, those who slept 7-8 hours were also the slimmest - something to think about when you're watching late-night TV.