Sleep Your Way Thin?

Is it possible to lose weight just by sleeping?
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Fit Facts

Sleep Your Way Thin?

Sleep and Weight – is there a connection between how much you snooze and how much you loose?

-Marie Dittmer, MA, RD, LN

SleepingAre you concerned about your weight lately? Are the numbers on the scale starting to creep up a bit? If so, you might take a look at your sleep habits.

A number of studies in recent years show a relationship between the number of hours slept and weight. It seems people who sleep the least are at a greater risk of being overweight or obese. The relationship appears to be strongest in children and young adults and then decreases as people get older.

That’s not good news for Americans. We live in a sleepy society where not getting enough zzz’s at night is very likely. According to the National Sleep Foundation, respondents in the 2009 Sleep in America poll slept an average of just six hours and 40 minutes on workdays, and seven hours and seven minutes on weekends – below the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

How might a lack of sleep affect our weight? Nobody knows exactly, but there are some good theories. First, a lack of sleep affects two hormones in the body – leptin and ghrelin -both of which have a role in regulating hunger cues. It’s plausible that if they aren’t working as they should we could crave and eat more food than we really need. With our defenses down it seems easier to pick up a bag of chips or a chocolate bar for a snack instead of washing an apple or peeling an orange.

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0 thoughts on “Sleep Your Way Thin?

  1. I absolutely agree that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. I have my own personal experience to support this. I have been sleep-deprived for going on two years now, during which time I have gained about 20 pounds; not eating any more than before. Recently, I went through a period of 2 weeks during which I had difficulty falling asleep, but once I did, I couldn’t wake up; slept about 8-10 hours per night about 8 nights in 2 week period. I lost 5 pounds, with no change in diet or physical activity. When I went back to the worst state of sleep deprivation, I gained the 5 pounds back. One of my friends that insists on 9 hours per night sleep . . . she is the thinnest person I know – 40 years old. Aside from my experience, there are many studies to support this.

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