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Snooze and Lose

By |2020-02-27T11:31:45-05:00October 26th, 2018|Categories: Health A-Z|

Have you ever found yourself nibbling all day after a night of restless sleep?  There might be a physiological explanation.

Recent studies have suggested a link between sleep duration and weight gain.  Sleep deprivation appears to influence the production of ghrelin and leptin, the body’s appetite-regulating hormones. 

One study found that women who slept less than six hours per night were more likely to gain weight when compared to women who slept seven hours per night.  For men, another study found that sleep deprivation in men increased their preferences for high-calorie foods and overall calorie intake.  The same rings true for children, as research has shown that sleep-deprived children were more likely to be obese.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average American needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal functioning.  But according to the American Heart Association, 28% of adults report that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night. 

How many more calories does lack of sleep translate into exactly? Researchers found that people who slept less consumed an average of 549 additional calories per day (about the number of calories in a quarter pounder cheese burger!)

So power down your electronic devices, establish a regular sleep schedule, and avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.  You just might find that catching more “z’s” translates into losing more pounds

Caryn Alter, MS, RD, FAND
Registered Dietitian, Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center, CentraState Healthcare System

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