The Skinny on Sleep and Your Weight

If you’re like most people, you’re getting less than adequate amounts of sleep on most nights. A 2013 Gallup poll found that U.S. adults get an average of 6.8 hours of sleep a night — more than an hour less per night than we got in the 1940s. And fully 40 percent of Americans are getting six hours of sleep or less every night. That’s much less sleep than what experts recommend for most adults.

Check our chart to see How Much Sleep You Need.

Lack of sleep may not just be making you cranky and unable to concentrate. It could be one of the reasons why you’re struggling to take off that extra five (or 10, or 20) pounds.

Research suggests that there is a relationship between lack of sleep and weight gain — and also, potentially, between lack of sleep and Type 2 diabetes. In one study, for example, men who had one night of significantly reduced sleep (four hours) felt hungrier, and consumed about 22 percent more calories, than men who got the optimal eight.

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