Making This Sleep Mistake Is Bad News for Your Waistline, New Research Shows

We'll be turning in promptly at 10 p.m. tonight, thank you very much.

It happens to the best of us: You tell yourself you’ll just watch one more episode of The Fall (so good, amirite?) before bed, only to look at the clock five episodes later and find that it’s 3:46 a.m. and you need to be in the shower getting ready for work in less than four hours. But a new study shows that skimping on sleep isn’t just bad news when it comes to keeping your job (I don’t know about you, but my boss doesn’t really love it when I sleep at my desk), it can also be bad news for your waistline.

As the Huffington Post reports, a new analysis of studies, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people ate significantly more calories on days following a skimpy night of sleep. And by “significantly more,” we’re talking 385 more calories (!!) consumed on days after they got between 3.5 and 5.5 hours of shuteye instead of at least 7. To give you some perspective, that’s 1.25 McDonald’s cheeseburgers worth of extra calories eaten on tired days. Yikes.

According to the analysis, folks who were sleep deprived also ate more fat and less protein the day after a short night’s rest. As study author Gerda Pot told the Huffington Post, “If long-term sleep deprivation continues to result in an increased calorie intake of this magnitude, it may contribute to weight gain. And ultimately to obesity and [being] overweight.” The study didn’t look into why sleep deprivation makes you eat more, but you don’t have to tell us to turn in early twice.

So there you have it: A very convincing reason to get a good night’s rest tonight. And if fear of outgrowing your favorite pair of jeans is not convincing enough, we’ll throw in this news that not getting enough sleep makes you act drunk — for good measure.

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