Getting enough sleep could mean less weight gain, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health that found sleep patterns are linked to food cravings. Participants who got only 4 hours of sleep each night had higher levels of appetite-inducing hormones and reported a 23% increase in cravings, especially high fat, sweet, and salty foods. Eight hours of sleep each night is considered ideal. If you get less than 8 hours of sleep a night, avoid exercise, alcohol and caffeine for at least 3-6 hours before bedtime to get a restful sleep.