Diet by Regulating Sleep Patterns

 Diet by Regulating Sleep Patterns

The surprising relationship between sleep and weight.

Experts suggest that if you're on a diet, you may need to get a few extra hours of sleep per week. If you're getting less than 6 hours per night, getting a little extra sleep might help regulate hormones that affect appetite and feelings of fullness.

"One thing I've noticed is that once a person is less tired, they don't have to rely on sugary foods and high-carb snacks to keep them awake — and that automatically means eating fewer calories." Reports Michael Breus, Phd, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine, and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta.

There is evidence to suggest a link between sleep and two specific hormones – gherlin, which is produced by the digestive tract as an appetite stimulant, and leptin, which is produced in fat cells and is responsible for sending signals to the brain when you are full. When people don't get enough sleep, or their sleep is disrupted by conditions like sleep apnea, hormone levels tied to appetite are also affected. In general, leptin levels fall, which means people don't feel satisfied when they eat, and ghrelin levels increase, stimulating appetite. Lack of good sleep can possibly lead to overeating and weight gain.

This link between sleep and weight was studied by both the University of Chicago in Illinois and Stanford University in California. In a University of Chicago study, worsening after sleep, subjects' cravings for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods increased by 45%. In the Stanford study, 1000 volunteers reported how many hours they slept each night while their hormone levels and weight were tracked each night. Those who slept less than eight hours a night had lower leptin and higher ghrelin levels and higher amounts of body fat. Those who sleep longer have more weight.

So… steal some extra sleep tonight and you're well on your way to shedding a few pounds and feeling better too.