Tuesday, February 14, 2006
GETTING THE ZZZZZZZZZZs IS EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT
"Sleep Deprivation And Weight Gain," by Liz Wiseman, Trim You
Did you know that lack of sleep can cause weight gain? Neither did I. I wish I had found this out a bit sooner, like before I got fat, or at least before I started my current weight loss program. In fact I thought it might be slimming to stay up late -- after all you are using more calories when you up and about than when you are lying slumbering in bed aren't you? But recent studies indicate that lack of sleep can indeed add to your fat stores.
So how on earth can sleeplessness cause weight gain? Eve Van Cauter, director of the Sleep Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago School of Medicine, and the lead investigator on one of the new studies says that sleep deprivation activates a small part of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that also is involved in appetite regulation.
The hormones leptin and ghrelin regulate appetite and work rather like a seesaw. Leptin at one end and ghrelin at the other. When leptin is up and ghrelin is down we feel full, and vice versa.
In a long term epidemiological study researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University tracked 1,024 people ages 30 to 60. The subjects had sleep and blood tests every four years and kept a record of their sleeping habits. It was found that those who regularly slept for 5 hours a night had
higher ghrelin and lower leptin levels and a higher BMI.
Other recent studies show the same connection, including one from Columbia University in New York. They studied data on over 6000 people to compare sleep patterns and obesity. They found that those who slept two to four hours a night were 73% more likely to be obese than those who slept 7 to 9 hours a night. Those who slept five to seven hours were 50% more likely to be obese, and those who slept six hours were 23% more likely to be obese. In contrast those who got 10 or more hours of sleep were 11% less likely to be obese.
It seems that sleep deprived people feel hungrier (leptin is low) and because they are awake for longer they have more time to eat. Not only that but sleep deprived people are stressed and need a pick me up. Their pick me up of choice is- yes high calorie fatty or sugary snacks-real comfort foods. To add to all this night owls are not spending their extra hours on the treadmill. No, they are sitting around watching TV or reading.
More studies are now being conducted to discover whether an increase in sleep time would help people to lose weight.
In the meantime I'm off to bed!
Liz Wiseman is a writer and webmaster of "Trim You" a site that provides free reviews of weight loss programs, as well as articles and information about losing weight. You can find further news about losing weight at http://www.trim-you.com
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