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Study Hall: A good night’s sleep may prevent overeating

sleepFor Study Hall each week, we sort through the deluge of new medical studies and wordy white papers to bring you one that deserves your attention—in plain, healthy English.

Finally, an excuse to hit the snooze button.

Researchers this week at an American Heart Association conference in San Diego presented study findings that showed that sleep-deprived people consume more calories than those who get a full night’s rest.

The study: Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota monitored the sleep cycles and calorie consumption of 17 men and women for eight days. Half the people were allowed to sleep the whole night, and the other half slept for an hour and twenty minutes less. Everyone ate whatever they wanted.

The researchers measured calorie consumption and energy burned through physical activity.

The results: The participants who got less sleep ate about 549 calories more than their counterparts, even though they were not more physically active.

What it means: Get some Zs. If you pencil in eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, you’ll be less likely to overeat. —Allison Becker