How Much Sleep

How Much Do You Need ?

Is how much sleep you are getting causing you trouble maintaining a healthy weight?

If your answer to this question is yes it may have to do with the amount of sleep you are getting, or, more to the point, the sleep you are not getting.  Americans are sleeping less and less and a number of studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.  Studies have found that how much sleep loss you get changes the circulating levels of metabolic hormones that regulate hunger.

man with lack of sleep
Lack Of Sleep

Sleep loss has been shown to lead to higher levels of gherlin, the hormone that triggers appetite.  Lower levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, which tells the body when it's full or when it needs more calories and an increased body mass index (BMI), a measure which scales weight to height.  The result is that you feel hungrier and eat more than you really need.

A study presented at the 2004 North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that people who sleep two to four hours a night are 73 percent more likely to be obese than people who are normal sleepers.

Another study done at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland found that women who sleep an average of five hours or less a night are 32 percent more likely to put on extra pounds and 15 percent more likely to be obese than women who get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Bottom line, Americans sleep less and weigh more than they did 40 years ago.

overweight on bathroom scale
Overweight On Scale

Obesity is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and in a January 2005 Archives of Internal Medicine editorial, two Northwestern University researchers stress the need to examine the role of loss of sleep plays in the growing obesity epidemic in this country as people tend to replace less sleep with more food.

Sleep is beneficial for numerous reasons.  It is restorative and healing and now here's another very good reason to get your z's as it just might help you keep those extra pounds off.

If you are having trouble sleeping you may want to try Melatonin or Valerian, two natural solutions for occasional sleeplessness.  Melatonin may promote sleep as well as enhance mood and help your body adjust better to travel.  Valerian root contains numerous active compounds that work together to help not only promote your sleep but provide a calming, relaxing effect.

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Other related pages at Relax and Sleep

Aromatherapy : Cures For Insomnia : Insomnia Cure Bath
Breathing Technique : Deep Meditation Music : Sleep Apnea
How To Fall Asleep : Insomnia Solution : Power Nap