We’ve all been there – the clock nudges later into the evening, and though you know that you have to wake up early for work the next morning, you reject sleep for just a little while longer.

Whether watching a television show, finishing up work, or going out with friends, these precious hours of lost sleep could have lasting effects on your body. Researchers at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic are linking a shortage of shut-eye to a number of health issues, and the laundry list is a long one. The New York Times illuminated the list in a recent article, citing that inadequate sleep affects the “heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.”

This isn’t the first time that sleep loss has been linked to obesity. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2003 poll found that 77% of obese adults have a sleep issue. Their 2013 poll reported that only 28% of people who regularly exercise are sleep deprived, as opposed to 39% of those who do not exercise at all.

A study through Case Western found that women who get less than six hours of sleep each night are more likely to be overweight. Harvard released research that suggests children who slept less than 10 hours each night at three years of age were 45 percent more likely to be obese by age seven than those who slept twelve hours or more every evening.

The relationship between insufficient sleep and obesity is a vicious cycle. Those who stay awake late into the night have more time to snack. People who don’t get enough shut-eye often have lower levels of leptin, the hormone that tells the brain to stop eating, and higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that “stimulates appetite.” Metabolism decelerates when sleep is disrupted, which can result in ten pounds of weight gain annually.

It seems like a no-brainer to say that sleep is good for our overall health. By treating yourself to seven or eight hours of shut-eye every night, you’re feeding your brain and your body. No matter how tempting it is to stay up an extra hour, it’s important to consider how it will affect you in the long run. Sleep is something that you can’t make up for – if you lose out on a few hours each night, you can’t get that rest back.

Invest in your future (and your waistline) and treat yourself to a full night’s sleep… every night!

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