Sleep the weight off

We’ve mentioned the importance of getting enough sleep when it comes to weight loss before, but another report has been released adding to the list of reasons why we should make adequate sleep a priority.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, an important part of treating the obesity epidemic is through proper sleep habits.

The new commentary notes that fatigue influences the levels of hormones that regulate things like hunger, and that those who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more at night. Eating later in the evening is known to pack on the pounds, as the calories are not burned off as fast when you are asleep as they are during the day when your body is active.

Commentary author Jean-Philippe Chaput offered the Canadian Press some insight into his findings:

“We know that short sleepers in general feel more hungry. And when we restrict calories in the diet of short sleepers, we know that if we already feel more hungry and you cut calories, hunger plus hunger means very hungry. If they want to lose weight, of course at some point they will need to cut some calories. But if they don’t take into account their sleeping patterns, they might fail. They have more chances to fail over the long term.”

Earlier this year, the Mayo Clinic released a study that showed just how much more people eat when they are sleep deprived.

Studying 17 healthy young men and women in a controlled lab environment, volunteers were monitored closely to determine how much they eat and sleep in normal conditions. Then they were split into two random groups, where one group was allowed to maintain their normal sleep habits, while the other half had their sleep time cut down by two-thirds. Throughout the study, they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.

The volunteers in the sleep deprived group consumed on average, 549 more calories than they did when they were on their regular sleep schedule. Despite being awake longer, they did not burn much more calories than they did on the normal schedule, showing just how fast the unnecessary consumption could lead to weight gain.

Those added calories would turn into a pound of extra fat in just a week, if no extra exercise was added to one’s routine.

“I think we are really in the middle of two epidemics. The first is the obesity epidemic. The second is the sleep-deprivation epidemic,” wrote study author Andrew Calvin.

Sources: Canadian Medical Association Journal, Mayo Clinic, Vancouver Sun, Globe and Mail

Photo © Dubovitskiy

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