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Monday, May 5, 2008

Get more sleep - Lose more weight

Researchers are saying that if you want to lose weight, get more sleep. While it’s obvious that you aren’t as likely to eat while you’re sleeping, their reasoning is quite different: a chemical that is released while sleeping, leptin, signals when we are full. In addition, they think that a lack of proper sleep affects hormones that are responsible for burning off calories during the day.

The study that attempts to prove this hypothesis was conducted by the US National Institute of Mental Health and involved around 500 adults between the ages of 27 and 40. The researchers followed these volunteers and their sleeping habits over a period of 13 years and found their sleep hours reduced, but their weight increased.

The women in the study started off sleeping 7.7 hours, but by the end of the 13 years, they were only sleeping 7.3 hours on average. The men in the study went from sleeping 7.1 hours to 6.9 hours. The average weight gain was 5 pounds, with those sleeping less than six hours putting on the most weight.

The researchers felt that the weight gain was due to lack of sleep that tampered with the body’s natural chemicals and hormones. Low levels of leptin are thought to increase the urge to eat. Also, people who are not getting enough sleep tend to crave high fat, high carbohydrate foods.

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