Trying to lose weight? A recent raft of studies show that more sleep may be just what you need.
Here’s how it works.
First, well-rested people make better food choices. But when you’re sleep deprived, the parts of your brain associated with addiction do more of the decision making. That makes the doughnut look far more appealing than a yummy salmon salad — with predictable consequences for health and weight.
Second, inadequate sleep messes up hormones that control your hunger, satiety and ability to manage blood sugar — the latter having many negative health effects including taking you down the diabetes road.
From that article:
“Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University analyzed studies looking at the impact of sleep deprivation on weight and energy balance that were published between 1996 and 2011. They found in several studies that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night is linked with increases in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, decreases in insulin sensitivity (a risk factor for diabetes) and decreases in the hormone leptin (which is key for energy balance and food intake).
Scientific American reports the good news: Good sleep helps you lose significantly more weight:
“Researchers found that if dieters got a full night’s rest, they more than doubled the amount of weight lost from fat reserves.”
So how much sleep is enough?
This awesome New York Times article, part of a handout I now give all my patients, describes a couple of research studies that came to the same conclusion: Almost everyone needs 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Just two weeks of getting 6 to 7 hours nightly leads to reaction and cognitive deficits equivalent to being legally drunk. Even worse, those folks are so used to the sleep deficit they don’t even realize how impaired they are. These are the folks who insist they’re fine with just 5 hours of sleep each night. They’re almost definitely not.
So make sure you get your zzzzs. If you’re having trouble, give us a call. We have tools to help.