Friday, December 10, 2004

Experiment #001: Sleep & Weight

As I was perusing the headlines on Tuesday, a flurry of stories on the topic of weight gain caught my attention. Since I had just written on this topic the day before, it was still fresh on my mind. This latest batch of stories found yet another thing to blame fatness on: Insomnia! Yes, that's right. The newest "research" says that the less you sleep, the more you pack on the pounds.

So what does that have to do with an experiment, you may ask? Well, I'm glad you asked. You ask such good questions. In the spirit of taking things to ridiculous extremes, I decided to see how my weight would be affected by an extended period of sleep deprivation.

With the stage set, allow me to describe my experiment:

The Setup
Stay awake for as long as possible, and measure the change in weight as a result.

The Process
7:30am, Tuesday: Got up, about an hour later than usual.
     Weight: 146
11:00am, Tuesday: Ate two packets of instant oatmeal, apple-cinnamon variety.
     Weight: 146.5
12:30pm, Tuesday: Read this article, and decided to perform the experiment.
     Weight: 146.5
8:30pm, Tuesday: Drove home from work.
     Weight: 146
10:00pm, Tuesday: Ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, followed by some left over pizza, followed by some ice cream. Hey, I'm even giving the scientists some help by eating this wonderfully healthy food.
     Weight: 147
2:00am, Wednesday: Still awake, dawdling about on the computer.
     Weight: 147
6:00am, Wednesday: Answered nature's call.
     Weight: 146
8:00am, Wednesday: Back to work! Funny, I don't feel fatter...
     Weight: 146
8:30am, Wednesday: Had another two packets of apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal for breakfast. Considering the percentage of the drive to work that my eyes were closed, I think this experiment probably shouldn't last much longer...
     Weight: 146
11:30am, Wednesday: Time to call it quits. Heading home.
     Weight: 146
2:30pm, Wednesday: Well, I've been awake now for about 31 hours, I think that's enough to come to some irrational conclusions regarding the value of the reported research.
     Weight: 146
Stayed awake for a total of 31 hours.
Total sleep lost: 8 hours.
Total weight gained: 0 pounds

Given the results, there are only a limited number of conclusions that can be drawn:
  1. Eve Van Cauter is a charlatan, and made up outrageous results to garner publicity.
  2. My scale is stuck, and really I gained 5 pounds.
  3. I am a charlatan, and made up inane results to garner a laugh.
I leave it to the reader to decide which of these is most likely the truth.

Source: USA Today


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