Is Lack of Sleep Weighing You Down
Poor Sleep Throws Your System Off
Researchers found that getting too little sleep actually boosts your appetite and changes your metabolism. How? When the body is deprived of sleep, it alters the level of key hormones. Leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite, is reduced and ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone, is boosted. Working together, these cause sleep-deprived people to experience food cravings. What’s more, the brain views the drop in leptin as a signal that the body is starving and slows its metabolism to conserve calories.
Steps for Better Shut-eye
So how much sleep is enough? Studies show that getting less than seven hours at night can affect weight gain. And the greater the sleep deficit, the higher the chance of weight problems. Although the amount of sleep people need varies somewhat, most experts recommend adults get seven to nine hours every night.
Don’t make your weight loss goals more difficult through lack of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try these tactics:
• Establish a sleep-wake cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
• Increase exercise levels during the day, but refrain from physical activity at least three hours before bedtime.
• If you nap, keep it to less than one hour and don’t nap after 3 p.m.
• Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine for six to eight hours before sleep.
• Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, read for 30 minutes, or listen to soft music.
If these tips don’t help get your sleep back on track—or if you still feel sleepy during the day despite a full night’s rest—it’s time to talk with your doctor.
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Living Well: Sleep