The researchers conducted a study in which 16 healthy adults were allowed to sleep for just 5 hours per day over a normal workweek. The researchers found that participants gained almost nearly 2 pounds and overate during meals that were invariably delayed.
In the second week, the participants were allowed nine hours of sleep, during which they ate lesser quantity of carbohydrates and even lost weight.
"It (lack of sleep) changed the timing of their circadian rhythm—it was pushed to a later time, so people were eating more at night. On top of that, when people weren't obtaining enough sleep they ate smaller breakfasts because their bodies thought they were still supposed to be sleeping," said lead author Kenneth Wright, the director of the University of Colorado Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.