Men and women differ on a number of biological points. All other things being equal (and they are), there’s no question that certain health issues affect men and women differently.
This time, sorry, men: you may have been singled out to be negatively impacted by too little sleep – at least as far as weight is concerned.
University of Arizona and Harvard Medical School researchers told a congress at the American Association of Sleep Medicine (AASM) SLEEP conference in June that men may be more prone to weight gain in conjunction with poor sleep.
In the study, 49 recruits were kept awake for 29 hours with their hunger and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) levels measured at intervals. The study showed men were prone to significantly increased hunger when sleep-deprived.
Both sexes and all ages are prone to increased hunger levels in the face of inadequate sleep, but apparently not to an equal extent. Increasing the issue is the fact that our inhibitions and resolve are both lowered in the face of sleep deprivation. This means hunger may be more difficult to deny when one isn’t getting enough sleep.
All this translates to potential increased hunger and weight-gain issues in sleep deprived males. This was supported in the study, which showed men consumed more calories than women compared to baseline calories for each when kept awake for more than a 24-hour period.
The researchers did not offer clues at this time as to why men should suffer more from the effect than women, but future studies may be in the works. However, hormone levels may be a tie-in.
The researchers intend to publish the preliminary results of the study in the future.