Thursday, January 20, 2011

I heard staying up later burned more calories than sleeping, is that a good thing?

All of the recent research on sleep can be a little confusing. Scientists found that people getting a full night's sleep were more successful in their weight loss. But recent studies did show that an all nighter burned about 160 calories more than going to sleep. On the surface this looks like a good thing but researchers say it’s no weight-loss miracle: The body tries to make up for the deficit by saving more energy than usual the next day and night, researchers report in the January Journal of Physiology.

Pulling an all nighter continues to cause issues with sleep even when you try to make up for the sleep deprivation. After staying up all night, volunteers burned about 28 fewer calories during eight hours of recovery sleep than they had during a full night of regular sleep. And the energy conservation didn't stop there. In the 24-hour period during which people caught up on missing sleep, they burned about 228 fewer calories than during a comparable period in which they were sleep-deprived. Overall, when people slept normally, they expended 96 more calories than they did on days when they were making up for lost sleep.

This is a great example of looking carefully at research before running off with incomplete conclusions.

Source: Science 1/19/11
C.M. Jung et al. Energy expenditure during sleep, sleep deprivation and sleep following sleep deprivation in adult humans. Journal of Physiology, Vol. 589, January 2011, p. 235 DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.197517

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