1 All-Nighter Is Worse Than 6 Months Of Unhealthy Eating

Wow! We knew missing sleep was bad, but not THIS bad.

We’ve all been there at some point: You had a paper to finish, a presentation to finalize, or maybe just a particularly rowdy night out with friends, but you ended up staying up all night without getting any shuteye. These all-nighters may seem harmless—you tell yourself you’ll catch up tomorrow night or over the weekend. But, science happens to disagree. In fact, a new study from Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that one night without sleep is equivalent to six months on an unhealthy diet.

The researchers looked at the effect sleep deprivation had on insulin sensitivity. For background, when the body is less sensitive to insulin, it needs to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar stable. This can spike your blood sugar levels and lead to Type 2 diabetes. Previous studies had already shown that sleep deprivation could lead to insulin sensitivity, but researchers weren’t sure how much.

Their results were astonishing. Just one night of no sleep reduced insulin sensitivity by 33 percent, compared to 21 percent from a eating a high-fat diet for six months. The study was done on dogs, so the researchers still need to look at how the results translate in humans, but it’s hard to deny the importance of sleep when it comes to our health.

“It is critical for health practitioners to emphasize the importance of sleep to their patients,” Caroline M. Apovian, spokesperson for The Obesity Society, said in a press release related to the study. “Many patients understand the importance of a balanced diet, but they might not have a clear idea of how critical sleep is to maintaining equilibrium in the body.”

So, there you have it—cold, hard facts supporting the importance of a good night’s sleep. Next time you’re tempted to stay up all night watching Netflix, you might want to think again!