Did you know: Chronic sleep restriction is a risk factor for Obesity?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Monday Everyone,

Can you believe it's Monday already? I sure can't! How are everyone's September health goals going? Are you still managing to fit in strength training three or more times a week? We still have two more weeks left in the month, keep up the good work!

One of my health goals should probably be to get more sleep. I am terrible about making myself go to bed on time, and apparently I am not alone. According to the Journal of Obesity, since 1960 chronic sleep restriction has more than doubled in the U.S. Lack of sleep not only makes us feel groggy and less productive throughout the day, but it can also increase our risk for obesity!


Scientist suggest that sleep fulfills the following three major functions:
1. It serves as the energy restoration period from daytime activities.
2. It affords bodily protection at night when sensory capacities are down-regulated.
3. It affords the brain needed time to consolidate important experiences and memories for learning.

The amount of sleep you need is determined by many different things, however most men and women need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Are you currently getting that much sleep on a regular basis?

There are three major ways sleep restriction can affect your waist line. First of all, regular sleep deprivation elevates the sympathetic nervous system and increases evening cortisol production, which can lead to increased food intake and the accumulation of abdominal fat. Sleep deprivation is also associated with lower levels of leptin secretion. Leptin is secreted from fat cells and transmits energy balance messages to the hypothalamus (the brain center for hunger). As leptin levels drop, the hypothalamus interprets the message that the fat cells need more food and directs the body to eat more. This is never good! Sleep restriction also leads to a significant increase in ghrelin which is a hunger hormone that is produced and secreted from the stomach. When you have higher levels of ghrelin circulating, it stimulates hunger and food intake.

Second, chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with glucose metabolism. Impaired regulation of glucose is often associated with weight gain, because glucose plays an important role in regulating appetite. To put it simply, a lack of sleep induces impaired glucose utilization in parts of the brain, promoting the hunger response and increasing food intake.

Lastly, increased waking time during the day has been associated with television watching and other sedentary behaviors, such as snacking. Therefore less daily sleep time provides more opportunities for you to reach for that bag of Cheetos.

We all deserve to sleep like a baby!

Even if you exercise and eat right, you might be sabotaging your diet through unhealthy sleeping patterns. If you aim to get adequate rest each night you will not only feel better during the day, but your waistline just might thank you as well.

This information is taken from the September issue of the Idea Fitness Journal.

Food for thought:
How are your September health goals going?
Do you currently get enough sleep each night? If not, why?

Yours truly,

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