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Lose Weight by Sleeping Well

Posted on February 2, 2020 | No Comments on Lose Weight by Sleeping Well

If you want to lose weight, then you better have a good sleep every night. Although regular exercise and a healthy diet are very important, evidence is growing that sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy use and weight control.

Experts claim it has something to do with hormones leptin and ghrelin, which the body produces when a person is sleeping. Leptin suppresses appetite while ghrelin stimulates eating.

“When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat,” explains Dr. Michael Breus, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta, Georgia. “Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food.”

A joint project by Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin studied the association between sleep and losing weight. In the study, researchers noted the number of hours their 1,000 volunteers slept each night. They also measured the volunteers’ ghrelin and leptin levels, as well as their weight.

“Those who slept less than 8 hours a night not only had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of grehlin, but they also had a higher level of body fat,” the study shows. “What’s more, the level of body fat seemed to correlate with their sleep patterns. Specifically, those who slept the fewest hours per night weighed the most.”

Another study found that people who report an average total sleep time of five hours a night are more likely to become obese compared to people who sleep seven to eight hours a night. A number of hormones released during sleep also control the body’s use of energy. A distinct rise and fall of blood sugar levels during sleep appears to be linked to sleep stage. Not getting enough sleep overall or enough of each stage of sleep disrupts this pattern.

“It really does appear that sleep and obesity are a two-way street,” says Dr. Breus. “Bad sleep may lead to weight gain, and weight gain can lead to bad sleep.”

More proofs
Not convinced yet? A study done by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also attested that children who lack sleep face a greater risk of becoming obese than kids who get a good night’s sleep. Each extra hour of sleep cuts a child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese by nine percent, showed the study which appeared in the journal “Obesity”. By contrast, children who got the least sleep had a 92 percent higher chance of being overweight or obese than children who slept enough.

“Our analysis of the data shows a clear association between sleep duration and the risk for overweight or obesity in children. The risk declined with more sleep,” says Dr. Youfa Wang, a senior author of the study.

Cutting back on sleep could also increase the risk of heart disease. As Dr. Rafael Castillo, a consultant cardiologist at the Manila Doctors Hospital, puts it: “Sleep deprivation may potentially increase risk for the development of cardiovascular problems.

Sleeping less than 7.5 hours a nigh as associated with a 33 percent higher rate of cardiovascular incidents such a strokes and heart attacks, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine. A study done by Columbia University found that sleeping less than five hours doubled the risk of high blood pressure.

In Japan, researchers monitored the sleep of 1,255 people with hypertension for an average of 50 months. They tracked daytime and nighttime blood pressure, sleep duration and cardiovascualr disease events such as stroke, heart attack and sudden cardiac death.

They recorded 99 incidents of cardiovascular disease, and found the rate among those who slept less than 7.5 hours was 2.4 per 100 person-years. Those who got more sleep had an incident rate of 1.8 per 100 person-years.

Looking older
Not getting enough sleep will also make you look older. Well, there are hundreds of creams and lotions which will help get rid of those nasty dark circles and bags under your eyes. However, researchers have found that dark circles are probably the least of your worries. When laboratory animals are deprived of sleep, they succumb to infections, their hair falls out and they rapidly waste away.

“Sleep loss, particularly chronic sleep deprivation, exerts a profound effect on our physiology,” explains Dr. Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the University of Surrey’s Sleep Research Center. “Many hormonal changes are dependent on a normal sleep-wake pattern. Disrupting them can adversely affect our immune systems.”

A good night’s sleep means waking up rested and energized. On average, a healthy adult needs between six to eight hours of sleep a night, according to Dr. Ravi Seshadri, a sleep expert and clinical director of MD Specialist HealthCare at the Paragaon Medical Center in Singapore.

That amount of sleep, however, is variable. “It’s not a fixed number,” says Dr. Patrick Gerard Moral, head of the sleep and snore diagnostic and treatment unit of the University of Santo Tomas. It’s not only about quantity of sleep but quality as well, he adds.

In fact, the amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Not counting those sheep can create a “sleep debt,” which is very much like an overdrawn bank account. Eventually, your body will demand that the “debt” be repaid. While you may be able to adjust to a sleep-depriving schedule, your judgment, reaction time, and other functions are impaired by a lack of sufficient sleep.

A good night’s sleep doesn’t begin once you’re lying in bed. Help your body prepare for being well-rested by developing good sleep-smart habits during the course of the day. Try to wake up at the same time every day to set a schedule for your body. Also, hitting the gym can help you fall sleep more easily, as will avoiding caffeine consumption in the afternoon. Taking good care of yourself will make you count less sheep and score more sleep, which can make all the difference in your life.

Perhaps the words of Arthur Schopenhauer will give you more reason to sleep now. “Sleep,” he said, “is the interest we have to pay on the capital which is called in at death; and the higher the rate of interest and the more regularly it is paid, the further the date of redemption is postponed.”

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