If you find you have an insatiable appetite throughout the day, consider the amount of sleep you're getting every night. A new study presented this week at a medical conference in San Diego has found more evidence linking sleep deprivation to obesity.
For eight nights, researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota observed the sleeping and eating patterns of 17 otherwise normal, healthy young men and women with half of the participants getting their usual amount of sleep and the other half cut off from slumber two-thirds of the way through the night.
On average, researchers found that the group who slept one hour and 20 minutes less each day consumed an additional 549 calories a day compared to the control group.
"Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night," said study co-author Andrew D. Calvin in a statement.
While the authors acknowledge theirs was a small study, it builds on existing research that has linked several different illnesses and adverse health conditions on chronic sleep deprivation including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Another study published earlier this year in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, for instance, also concluded that a poor night's sleep can activate the appetite-controlling part of the brain, increasing their levels of hunger.
Meanwhile, in a 2010 study published in the journal Sleep, US scientists identified seven as the magic number for sleep, saying that those who sleep more or fewer than seven hours a day could be increasing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.