Sunday, November 10, 2013

How Sleep Affects Your Weight

Some research studies have revealed that short sleep and weight gain are linked! Losing sleep tends to make us eat more and gain weight, and now a new study suggests that one reason may be the impact that sleep deprivation has on the brain. If you're a short sleeper, that is, you sleep for 5 to 6 hours or less a night, you'll have trouble losing weight! In a 7-year study of 7,022 middle-aged people, researchers found that women who reported sleep problems were more likely to experience a major weight gain.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when we are sleep-deprived, our general energy expenditure is 5 % less than it is when we get a good night's sleep, and the post-meal energy expenditure is 20 % less. In a study at the American Heart Association's 2011 Scientific Sessions, it was shown that women who got only 4 hours of sleep, ate 329 additional calories the next day than they did after 9 hours sleep.

In another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 11 volunteers spent 14 days at a sleep center on two occasions. During one period, they slept 5.5 hours a night, and during the other, they slept 8.5 hours. When the subjects were sleep-deprived, they increased their nighttime snacking and were more likely to choose high-carbohydrate snacks.

This is probably the biggest revelation about the connection between sleep and weight loss—and the biggest challenge for you if you're not getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping too little affects the hormone levels in our body. The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin, a hormone released by the stomach increases hunger, slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn fat. Lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. When you don't get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. The two combined, can set the stage for overeating, which in turn may lead to weight gain. Now that you are eating more, your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived; it explains all the reasons for weight gain!

Sleep is an important tool in weight management. These studies clearly indicate that getting enough sleep can help prime your brain to help you win the battle against weight gain. It’s the most effective thing people can do every day to reset their brain and body health.