Weight Loss and Sleep Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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Put “sleep” at the top of your to-do list if you’re trying to shed excess pounds. A growing stack of research suggests that skimping on sleep can double your odds for being overweight. And less sleep means more weight gain: Logging less than 4 hours a night boosts risk for obesity by a whopping 72%. In one study of dieters, those who got 8.5 hours of sleep lost 55% more fat than people who followed the same diet but slept just 5.5 hours. Both groups lost 6.6 pounds on average during the study, but short-sleepers lost more muscle mass. That’s a problem, because muscle burns calories 24/7. Less muscle means a lower metabolic rate—which makes future weight loss difficult and future weight gain more likely.Fast Facts:
- Skimping on sleep upsets the body’s balance of “hunger hormones,” raising levels of appetite-boosting ghrelin and decreasing appetite-suppressing leptin.
- Men who slept for just four hours a night in one study saw hunger levels increase by 24% after just two nights.
- They reported craving more high-calorie foods like candy, cookies, chips, nuts, bread and pasta, but their appetite for fruit and vegetables didn’t increase.
- Since 1960, Americans have reduced their average sleep time by two hours a day. At the same time, rates of overweight and obesity have increased dramatically.
- Short-changing slumber also boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which sends more fat to your abdomen for storage and boosts cravings for sweets.
washingtonpost.com — “When I feel tired, I can't do much of anything right. I drop things. I say stupid stuff. And I eat with abandon, unable to resist most temptations.” View full resource at washingtonpost.com
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