In today’s busy society, we try to pack more and more into every day. As a result, sleep is usually the first thing sacrificed. But staying up late to get more work done, surf the Internet or watch television could be the culprit behind your weight gain or inability to lose weight.Studies have found that not getting enough sleep has a significant impact on your waistline by increasing hunger and changing the body’s metabolism. One study found middle-aged women who sleep five or fewer hours each night weigh an average of 2.5 kg (about 5.5 pounds) more than those who sleep for at least seven hours. These same women tended to gain more weight over time.
Another study showed restricting sleep in healthy young adults to just four hours a night for a week caused an 18 percent decrease in leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone, and a 24 percent increase in appetite — especially cravings for high-carbohydrate foods like candy, cookies and cake. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where those extra calories go.
Sleep loss also affects the body’s ability to metabolize these carbohydrates, which causes high blood sugar and ultimately increased fat storage and insulin resistance. This insulin resistance can be a slippery slope toward diabetes.
In addition, decreased amounts of the restorative deep sleep can reduce levels of growth hormone, a protein that helps regulate the proportion of fat and muscle in the body.
Sleep affects your overall health, too. Without adequate sleep, the immune system becomes weak, and the body becomes more vulnerable to infection and disease. And sleep regulates your mood, concentration and ability to make decisions.
To top it all off, sleep loss leaves you just plain tired so you’re much less likely to make healthy food choices or to exercise. Or you may turn to caffeine to perk you up, which also disturbs sleep. All of these factors can result in a vicious cycle of weight gain.
Your mission: To get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Seven Ways to Get Your Seven Hours:
- Get regular exercise, but make sure it’s at least three hours before bedtime to allow your body’s core temperature to cool down to a more sleep-friendly temp.
- Don’t consume caffeine after lunch.
- Get sleep-robbing medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) treated.
- Don’t eat a big meal just before bedtime.
- Relax before bedtime with a soothing ritual like a warm bath or light reading.
- Don’t take naps for more than an hour and never after 3 p.m.
- Create a sleeping sanctuary. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
To help in the battle of the bulge and to stay healthier, combine at least seven hours of nightly sleep with the one-two punch of the Slimplicity® Weight Loss System, which includes a delicious meal replacement shake and appetite-squelching Accelerator capsules, and GlucAffect®, a proven way to control blood sugar and lose weight.