Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2014 Contents A36
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, May 2, 2014
The not-so-secret way to lose weight is to eat less
and exercise more, right? Well, according to some,
sleeping---that s right, catching more Zs---can help
you shed pounds. So, should you swear off the gym
in favour of more time snoozing under the sheets?
The verdict: Proper sleep can help you avoid excess
weight gain and, over time, lose weight. But if you re
looking to drop ten pounds by the end of the month,
sleep isn t your answer.
You might think that the more hours you re awake,
the more calories you re burning, so you should be
losing more weight. But you d be wrong.
In fact, people who don t sleep enough at night risk
gaining extra pounds, not losing them, according to
John M Jakicic, director of the Physical Activity and
Weight Management Research Center at the University
"I think poor sleep is a contributing factor to weight
gain," says Jakicic. "When you have poor sleep or lack
of sleep, you re setting a whole cascade of events in
motion hormonally that could set you up for weight
Less sleep = Less energy
Hormones that regulate growth and appetite are
part of the equation, according to Jakicic, but equally
culpable is sleep sabotage. He believes that the more
you re awake, the greater the chance you ll have an
extra snack or two (or three or four).
A 2013 study in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences supports that theory. It found
that people who don t get enough sleep are more likely
to be hungry because the body needs more energy to
stay awake. Unfortunately, sleepy eaters tend to consume
more than enough to compensate, which leads to
"People who are well rested don t slog through the
day," says Jakicic. If your body is worn, you re not going
to be bounding up the stairs to your office, and you
might be less motivated to make it to the gym. Less
physical activity means fewer calories burned which,
over time, can lead to weight gain.
Sleep can curb hunger
If you re not sleeping well at night, you may be
causing hormonal imbalances that could be making
you feel hungry when you don t really need to eat.
"The appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin are made
predominantly during sleep, which means that people
have less of a sense of satiety if they re not getting
enough sleep," says Dr Jacob Teitelbaum, author of
Real Cause, Real Cure: The 9 Root Causes of the Most
Common Health Problems and How to Solve Them.
That hormone-triggered lack of satiety could explain
the 3 am munchies.
Your growth hormones are also to blame, according
to Teitelbaum. "When you sleep, your body is hard at
work building muscle and repairing and rejuvenating
tissue. The less sleep you get, the less time your body
has for these critical processes."
And since the more muscle you have, the higher
your metabolism, not sleeping enough could be affecting
how effectively your body burns through calories. "You
(won t) have as much muscle if you re not getting
enough sleep," he says. "You ll actually wind up with
more fat and less muscle."
More sleep doesn't equal diet-level weight loss
So if you suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome,
fibromyalgia or any other sleep or pain disorders that
can make shut-eye elusive, seek treatment. And yes,
if you re on a diet, getting quality, restful sleep can
help you shed pounds, but it ll take a while.
You can t sleep yourself thin, and sleeping will never
take the place of a healthy diet or exercise. Try to focus
on the quality of your rest, not the number of hours
you re getting each night (within reason, of course).
"It s going to come down to the quality of sleep,"
Can you lose weight
Jakicic says. "I think you re going to see a big difference
between people who sleep six hours and have good
quality versus [those] who sleep six hours and (have)
poor quality...It s really hard to have a lifestyle that
allows you to lose weight (if you don t) have the energy
to go out and do more." (Upwave.com)
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