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Simple answer to losing weight fast: Sleep more

Posted Feb 20 2009 5:27pm


There are all kinds of weight loss tips and healthy eating guidelines for you to follow.  There is a new healthy weight loss diet coming out almost every week.  Now many of these healthy eating guidelines and weight loss tips are valid points and should be followed if you want to achieve permanent weight loss. 

You may be overlooking a major component to successful weight loss.  This has nothing to do with healthy eating guidelines or exercise intervals.  It has to do with recovery and your downtime.  

How much sleep do you get each and every night?

The amount of sleep you get could be the make or break tip to you weight loss success.  Research studies are showing that those who are sleep deprived have higher levels of bodyfat compared to those who get adequate sleep each night.

Studies have also linked a lack of sleep to hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.   A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology followed 68,000 Americans for 16 years and found that those who got five hours or less of sleep per night were one third more likely to gain 30 plus pounds over the course of the study than those who slept seven hours or longer. 

Another study Stanford University reported that subjects who slept the least had higher levels of bodyfat than those who slept 8 hours or more.

The commonalities that both studies have are that the participants who lacked sleep had lower levels of the hormone leptin and higher levels of the hormone ghrelin.  Leptin is produced primarily by the fat cells and this hormone works to decrease hunger and increase your metabolic rate.  The hormone Ghrelin is produced by the gastrointestinal tract and increases your hunger.  This is an imbalance of two key hormones that affect your body type and whether you gain weight or not. 

The simple answer to correct this is to obviously sleep more.  There are other things you can and should be doing to keep your leptin level elevated and your ghrelin level low, but the most often overlooked weight loss tip is sleep.  We are all very busy and sleep is something we wish we could do more of and just never seem to get it. 

If you are one who struggles with losing weight.  You have tried healthy weight loss diet after diet and you still seem to struggle with your weight loss than I suggest this.  Record how much sleep you get each night for one week.  Before you go to bed each night evaluate how your day was.  Were you tired?  Did you wake up refreshed?  Did you feel that you needed more sleep? 

After this one week of recording your sleep look at how many hours on average you slept each night.  If it wasn’t 7 hours then make it a goal to average 7 hours of sleep a night.  If you did average 7 hours and you still felt tired every morning then work to increase that average to 8 hours and see how you feel.  Every person is a little different when it comes to required restful sleep.  You may need to experiment with this a little. 

If you are serious about permanently losing weight though I suggest you make increasing your sleep a priority or everything else you do to lose weight may be for nothing. 

Yours in health,

Jayson Hunter RD, CSCS
America’s Trusted Weight Loss Expert

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