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Monday, February 9, 2009

2/9/09 Snooze and Lose!

At one of the three seminars I attended at the beginning of this process, a nutritionist gave out information on a study that was done on successful weight-loss patients. I thought it was interesting to hear that one of the indicators for being successful is getting enough sleep at night, but she didn’t really explain why.

This paragraph is about my sleep, you can skip this and go to the next one to hear about you. I’ve always had a lot of trouble sleeping; takes me a minimum of ½ hour to fall asleep, I have to use a sound machine because I’m such a light sleeper and I wake up during the night several times. Add to that, that I’ve had frequent migraines that usually wake me up in the wee hours of the morning, and I wasn’t getting enough sleep. After having a crippling migraine for three days one week I finally sought help and am now on a medication that has been a miracle for me…and one of the side effects is that you have deeper sleep. I’ve had a few episodes where I’ve woken in the night with the beginnings of a migraine, but then I’ve fallen back to sleep. That NEVER would have happened before. It doesn’t help me to fall asleep, and I wake up groggy, but I’m getting more hours of sleep, which is good. OK, here’s why it’s good.

The Today Show featured a story today where Glamour Magazine looked at all the studies that showed a correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. People who don’t get enough sleep on average eat 200 calories more per day. Glamour got women to change their sleep to at least 7.5 hours per night…and whataya know…they lost weight (they had more energy during the day to do more...*me*: or maybe just less time to eat). When you don’t get enough sleep the body is under stress and craves carbs and fats as an energy source. When you get enough sleep (called sleep hygiene) the leptin (hormone that regulates how hungry you are) in the brain is kept in balance. Leptin goes down with sleep deprivation, which increases your appetite.

If you Google ‘sleep deprivation and obesity’ you’ll find an avalanche of recent studies on this issue. The obesity epidemic has gone up at the same rate that average amount of sleep has gone down. So get your zzzz’s!!!

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