Studies: Getting less sleep could mean putting on more weight

| 12/10/2004

Mother always told you that you should get a full night’s sleep. Now, a study at the University of Chicago is telling people that it’s more important than ever.

The study found a link between sleep and another health issue important to truckers – weight. Scientists found that a person who is deprived of proper sleep is more likely to have a heavier appetite, especially for “calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.”

Sleep issues have been a hot topic in the trucking industry, especially with last January’s new hours-of-service rules, and now with an appeals court decision that the rules should be revised, in some cases because they did not address health issues related to sleep and rest.

Weight is a continuing issue for truckers. OOIDA’s own member survey shows that truckers on average fall into the “overweight” or “obese” categories, well above the general population, which sits on average at the line between “normal” and “overweight.” In addition, weight problems are linked to heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death among truckers.

The volunteers in the university sleep study showed a 24 percent increase in appetite, with a particular craving for such unhealthy treats as candy, cookies, chips, nuts, bread and pasta.

The University of Chicago study mirrors the results of another study at Stanford University School of Medicine, where researchers found that sleep loss leads to higher levels of a hormone that triggers appetite, lower levels of a hormone that tells your body it’s full and an increased body mass index.

“In Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones with sleep curtailment may contribute to obesity,” the researchers noted in the Stanford paper.