Monday, September 13, 2010

Sleep Essential to Permanent Weight Loss

(Article first published as Sleep May be the Key to Successful Weight Loss on Technorati.)
Amazing as it may sound, sleep may be the missing link to achieving your weight loss goal. The importance of a good night’s sleep is discounted by many people, yet the impact on overall health and body weight cannot be underestimated. The body performs many critical functions while we sleep that assist our immune response, guide cellular restructuring as well as fat metabolism and weight loss maintenance.

Sleep Essential to Burn Fat
Insufficient sleep causes a disruption of the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin which direct fat metabolism. When these hormones become resistant to cues from the brain due to dietary abuse or lack of deep sleep, fat is not released efficiently and remains stored as excess weight in the body.

The results of a study published in the journal Sleep, reveal that teenagers who received less than 8 hours of sleep per night consumed 2.2% more dietary fat on average. Since fat is densely packed with calories, this leads to weight gain over time.

Young Children at Risk for Obesity with Insufficient Sleep
Young children require even more sleep than teens and adults, and may be increasing their risk for weight problems and obesity in later life when they average less than 10 hours a night. This is according to a study published in the American Journal of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine which studied adolescents who received fewer than 10 hours of sleep each night, and found they were more than twice as likely to be overweight five years later, with some becoming obese as well.

Poor Sleep Disrupts Appetite Hormones in Adults
Insufficient or disrupted sleep causes levels of the critical appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin to fluctuate leading to increased hunger. Normally, leptin signals the brain when you’ve had enough and it’s time to stop eating. Conversely, ghrelin sends the cue that you’re hungry and ready to eat. In studies where sleep was deprived and subjects received less than 7 hours per night, leptin levels dropped and ghrelin rose, resulting in the urge to overeat.

There was a direct correlation between the number of hours slept and the desire to eat too much. Those who were most sleep deprived had an overwhelming desire to eat, and didn’t know when to stop. More importantly, these participants desired high carbohydrate, calorie rich foods nearly twice as much as those who slept at least 8 hours. Lack of sleep causes metabolic disruption affecting how body fat is stored and influences our hormones causing us to overeat.

Plan 7 to 9 Hours of Sleep Every Night
The best way to avoid weight gain from sleep deprivation is to plan a minimum of 7 hours and no more than 9 hours of sleep each night. Extensive research concludes that this is the proper zone to ensure optimal health and avoid weight gain from hormonal imbalance. Additionally, you can help by making a conscious effort to limit or eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugar from your diet. This will become easier to do as you normalize your sleep patterns since your desire for excessive carbohydrates will subside.

We have evolved to sleep one-third of our lives, a critical process that has served us well for generations. The body performs many essential repair functions while we sleep which lead to improved immune function and a disease free life. By ensuring the proper hours of sleep every night, you’ll feel energized during the day as you attain and maintain your naturally healthy weight.

1 comment:

Okuma said...

Leptin and Ghrelin are the two controlling hormones that affect in weight regain. The level of intake of such hormones predetermine the capability to maintain weight loss.