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Sleep and Losing Weight


Does a person struggling to trim down needs to have less of everything? Absolutely not, sleep and rest is a must for losing weight. Sleeping 5 hours or less every night promotes weight gain, not weight loss. This conclusion is based from several studies aiming to determine the relationship of sleep and weight loss.

A 16-year study was conducted to nearly 70,000 middle-aged women by the American Thoracic Society. Among the subjects, those women who slept for only five hours every night have 32% increased tendency to gain weight with 15% increased tendency to develop obesity than those who slept for 7 hours each night. On the other hand, those women who slept for 6 hours has 12% increased tendency of gaining weight and 6% to be obese.  In 2008, the National Sleep Foundation revealed that 63% of Americans do not get the required 8 hours of sleep and 31% gets less than 7 hours of sleep during the weekdays. Among the respondents, almost ¾ or 72% exceeded their prescribed weight and are even obese. There are two main reasons why sleep has this inversely proportional relationship to weight.

When people get inadequate rest and sleep, hunger is increased as they feel stressed out and fatigued. Food intake is expected to be excessive and is focused on the wants of the individual.

On the other hand, several hormones are secreted during sleeping hours which have effects on metabolism and appetite. The hormone Ghrelin is increased when a person is sleep deprived, it acts by increasing the appetite. At the same time, Leptin or the full hormone, responsible for signaling the brain of the feeling of fullness is decreased. The overall effect of this imbalance between these two appetite hormones is increased feeling of hunger and thereby increased food intake the following day after the sleep deprived night. The third hormone is the growth hormone, aside from promoting growth, this hormone acts by increasing muscle mass and stimulating the breakdown of fats. Secretion of growth hormone takes place during sleeping and less hours of sleep also means less production of it. Decline in secretion of growth hormone can lead to unwanted weight gain and increase in fat synthesis. Stress due to lack of sleep leads to excessive secretion of cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the hunger center of the brain thereby increasing hunger. Cortisol also decreases the body’s metabolic rate by inhibiting the effectiveness of the thyroid hormone responsible for facilitating metabolism.

So be sure to get your sleep every night so you can shed the pounds or keep the weight off.



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