While the sample of only 16 adult individuals demonstrates the need for further investigation, the findings of insufficient sleep during the 5 day work week leads to increased weight gain is beneficial for Americans today.
Published today (March 12, 2013) in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Markwald indicates that when the patient undergoes 5 consecutive days of insufficient sleep, their daily energy output is increased, as well as an excessive caloric energy intake.
The energy demanded from the body increased 5% daily during the sleep lacking periods. This timeframe led to a 1-2 pound per week weight gain.
When the sleep pattern is changed from lacking in sleep to adequate sleep over the workweek, less caloric intake is required, leading to a decrease in the consumption of fats and carbs. This actually leads to weight loss!!
Catching up on sleep and getting adequate sleep after prolonged sleeplessness only helps us lose half a pound to a pound a week, it is definitely better than gaining!
Even if getting enough sleep alone will not create a major loss in weight, it is an aspect that cannot be overlooked while trying to maintain healthy weight or induce weight loss. More important than counting calories and exercise, maybe not, but definitely a third leg in the weight-control triangle.