This one hits close to home.
This study followed adult test subjects over a two week period with 5 days of insufficient sleep (5 hours of sleep/night). Poor sleep is often associated with being overweight, and the focus of this study was to try and identify the cause of that correlation.
Researchers found that while the subjects had a higher daily calorie expenditure on days that they were awake longer, they also ate more food than necessary to match that energy use. This lead to a weight gain of ~1.5#-2.5# over the two week period. Interestingly, this extra food intake was unevenly skewed towards carbohydrates vs other macronutrients (fat and protein), and was largely eaten during post-dinner snacks. This suggests that insufficient sleep reduces dietary restraint. This study also suggested that a lack of sleep in regards to weight gain might have a greater impact on women than men.
The sample size was only 16 people, so I wouldn't draw any grand conclusions from it, but the study does present some interesting and potentially useful ideas in reflecting on your own experiences with sleep and weight loss.
Sleep length (and quality!) has an enormous impact on your overall health. If you find yourself struggling to get 7-9 hours of sleep/night, addressing that is a low-hanging fruit that could really make a change for you in many aspects of your health and fitness.
Let me or one of your other coaches know if you need help coming up with strategies to get you some more shut-eye!
Yours in Food + Fitness,