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Get More Zzz's to Lose Pounds


By +Carolyn Richardson on May 05, 2012 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

Let me sleep on it. It’s a phrase we use to avoid making hasty or ill-advised decisions. And when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, sleep is indeed an important necessity. New research is shedding light on just how important shut-eye can be to keeping your weight in check.

More Sleep Turns Obesity Genes Off

Many are curious if their obesity is passed down. The heritability of obesity is a concept that points to genetics for the variation of weight in the population. Scientists have discovered a “fat mass and obesity associated” (FTO) gene that is strongly associated with BMI and obesity. But a fat gene doesn’t have to dash your healthy weight dreams. That is, if you’re willing to get more zzz’s. A large scale study of twins found that those who slept under seven hours a night had greater genetic influences on BMI than environmental factors such as diet and exercise. The reverse was true for those who got more than nine hours of sleep. Specifically, genes accounted for 70% of the differences in body mass index for the sleep-deprived twins, as opposed to just 32% in well-rested participants. Sleeping more therefore helps your healthy habits like diet and exercise count, while lowering how obesity genes affect you. While those with the FTO gene were found to be around seven pounds heavier, the effects of additional sleep on turning off that gene could help make up the weight difference.

Lack of Sleep and Hunger

Beware of falling below the six-hour mark. review of studies reveals the role inadequate sleep may play in increasing the vulnerability to obesity. Those who fall below six hours of sleep a night have an increased body mass index, diabetes and hypertension. This may be due to the fact that lack of sleep negatively affects your ability to make good food choices. Not only does sleep loss boost appetite, but it may also make you less discerning. A separate University of Chicago study found subjects who slept just four hours, two nights in a row reported a 24% increase in appetite and their cravings for sweets, salty, and starchy foods greatly increased.

Lack of Sleep Slows Metabolism

If changing the effects of your genes isn’t reason enough to get to bed earlier, maybe keeping your metabolism revved will help pull up the covers. A new Brigham and Women's Hospital study kept subjects in a completely controlled environment nearly six weeks. Initially participants were given optimal sleep, about ten hours a night, followed by three weeks of sleep deprivation, a mere 5.6 hours a night. The last nine nights of the study allowed recovery sleep at the usual ten hours. The results showed a significant decrease in resting metabolic rate, as well as an increase in glucose concentrations after meals. According to researchers’ results, the effects of lack of sleep could translate to a yearly weight of over ten pounds if diet and activity go unchanged and an increased risk of diabetes.

Bottom line, shooting for seven to eight hours of sleep a night is adequate, while more is optimal. Yet even if you have healthy habits for diet and exercise, getting less than seven hours of sleep could increase your incidence of chronic disease and cause weight gain long term.

Your thoughts…

How much sleep do you get a night and what could you cut down on to get more zzz’s?



Comments


Does the sleep have to be continuous/uninterupted, or does a nap count into the total hours of sleep? I rarely sleep longer than 5 or six hours straight at night.



My favorite thing: SLEEP! hahahahahah.:0)Cool



I get 7 to 9 hours a week and I have dropped 30 lbs in six months. I can now do a 4 mile run in 60 min. Another 40 lbs to go. Sleep is one of the three major factors of lossing weight.


Hi everyone,

@hobbbs: Any sleep is good, any time!  My wife naps almost every day.  She's very thin.  Is there a correlation?  I think so!

Another thing that's GREAT about sleep is, your body goes into a kind of starvation mode and as long as you're not eating a couple of hours before you hit the hay, you're acttually burning fat as you sleep!  There's a study on it out there somewhere, I'll try to find a link.

Jim

Eat less of what you love and lose weight permanently.  



Maybe the cause and effect are backward.  Being overweight and having other health issues could influence the amount of sleep you get. 

My sleep clock wakes me up after 6-7 hours sleep.  Even after spinal surgery, I could not sleep more than that even though the nurse kept telling me to go to sleep.  I just wanted to get up and get moving.  

My bladder clock wakes me up every 3 hours.  With luck, my elderly granddog's bladder is on same schedule.   My fight-or-flight response wakes me up to any unusual noise in the house or outside.   Rarely is my sleep uninterrupted.



Original Post by: jimmyloram

Hi everyone,

@hobbbs: Any sleep is good, any time!  My wife naps almost every day.  She's very thin.  Is there a correlation?  I think so!

Another thing that's GREAT about sleep is, your body goes into a kind of starvation mode and as long as you're not eating a couple of hours before you hit the hay, you're acttually burning fat as you sleep!  There's a study on it out there somewhere, I'll try to find a link.

Jim

Eat less of what you love and lose weight permanently.  


thanks jim, i will use my nap time wisely



I'm lucky if I get three hours sleep...just accepting that this is the way it is for now. Curiously enough when I was at my heaviest I used to be tired all the time and could sleep anytime anywhere. These days I put it down to the menopause or as my lovely mother (RIP) used to tell me ' it's your age darling'! Smile



I feel rotten -- hungry, cranky, and craving sweets -- if I get less than 9 hours of sleep.  After 45 years I think I'm finally figuring this out.  Great article!



Original Post by: hobbbs

Original Post by: jimmyloram

Hi everyone,

@hobbbs: Any sleep is good, any time!  My wife naps almost every day.  She's very thin.  Is there a correlation?  I think so!

Another thing that's GREAT about sleep is, your body goes into a kind of starvation mode and as long as you're not eating a couple of hours before you hit the hay, you're acttually burning fat as you sleep!  There's a study on it out there somewhere, I'll try to find a link.

Jim

Eat less of what you love and lose weight permanently.  


thanks jim, i will use my nap time wisely


I used to have a similar kind of problem. Then tried hypnosis audios. You can find them on youtube. They are generally aimed at past life regression. I don't believe that, however the relaxing part really works. (There are videos for relaxing and sleep too, but i find male voice more relaxing and i couldn't find one for sleeping.)   I turn it off after relaxing part and sleep like a baby even after the wake-up in the morning. Even if you cannot sleep, it is a kind of sleep.



Original Post by: sundownlinda

Maybe the cause and effect are backward.  Being overweight and having other health issues could influence the amount of sleep you get. 

My sleep clock wakes me up after 6-7 hours sleep.  Even after spinal surgery, I could not sleep more than that even though the nurse kept telling me to go to sleep.  I just wanted to get up and get moving.  

My bladder clock wakes me up every 3 hours.  With luck, my elderly granddog's bladder is on same schedule.   My fight-or-flight response wakes me up to any unusual noise in the house or outside.   Rarely is my sleep uninterrupted.


(Sorry the wrong quote, this one is right)

I used to have a similar kind of problem. Then tried hypnosis audios. You can find them on youtube. They are generally aimed at past life regression. I don't believe that, however the relaxing part really works. (There are videos for relaxing and sleep too, but i find male voice more relaxing and i couldn't find one for sleeping.)   I turn it off after relaxing part and sleep like a baby even after the wake-up in the morning. Even if you cannot sleep, it is a kind of sleep.

 



Original Post by: weaned

Original Post by: sundownlinda

Maybe the cause and effect are backward.  Being overweight and having other health issues could influence the amount of sleep you get. 

My sleep clock wakes me up after 6-7 hours sleep.  Even after spinal surgery, I could not sleep more than that even though the nurse kept telling me to go to sleep.  I just wanted to get up and get moving.  

My bladder clock wakes me up every 3 hours.  With luck, my elderly granddog's bladder is on same schedule.   My fight-or-flight response wakes me up to any unusual noise in the house or outside.   Rarely is my sleep uninterrupted.


(Sorry the wrong quote, this one is right)

I used to have a similar kind of problem. Then tried hypnosis audios. You can find them on youtube. They are generally aimed at past life regression. I don't believe that, however the relaxing part really works. (There are videos for relaxing and sleep too, but i find male voice more relaxing and i couldn't find one for sleeping.)   I turn it off after relaxing part and sleep like a baby even after the wake-up in the morning. Even if you cannot sleep, it is a kind of sleep.

 


Absolutely, I usually sleep like the dead, but occasionally suffer from bouts of insomnia and since I discovered hypnosis tracks I find it much easier to deal with and it helps me get back into a healthy sleeping pattern more quickly.


If you look at the Brigham and Women's Hospital study, the 5.6 hour sleeps were at different times of the day to mimic the sleep disruption of workers with varying work shifts while the 10 hour sleeps were at night, so this is not strictly a study about number of sleep hours.  However, I think it is still relevant to Calorie Count's readers.



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