You’ve probably heard that not getting enough sleep is bad for you. But did you know that losing sleep might also be causing you to gain weight? Recent medical studies are repeatedly finding a connection between sleep duration and weight gain. You can read below more about how sleep affects weight, but first we’d like to offer you some serious savings on your next mattress.
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And now back to the sleep/weight connection: A study presented last year at the American Thoracic Society’s Annual Conference by Dr. Arn Eliasson shows that getting more sleep helps you lose inches around the waistline. In Eliasson’s study, nurses at Walter Reid Army Hospital who slept more hours a night or “long sleepers” had an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 24.5 compared to “short sleepers” whose average BMI was 28.3. BMI for normal weight is 18.5 – 24.9 and for overweight people, 25 – 29.9. Dr Eliasson attributed the “short sleepers” higher body mass to the fact that lack of sleep disrupts natural hormonal balances, triggering overeating.
Not getting enough sleep thanks to an old, lumpy mattress? It could actually be causing you to pack on extra pounds.
In a world full of fad diets where what’s great for you one day is terrible for you the next, there has only been one constant truth – a healthy diet and exercise will make you lose weight. You never can go wrong if you eat sensibly, control your portions, and get about 30 minutes of exercise a day. But, recent research does more than plainly suggest there should be a third component added to the diet and exercise equation. People who are looking to lose or maintain their current weight have to get a good night’s sleep as well!
Mounting scientific evidence shows that people who sleep 7.5 – 8 hours a night weigh less and lose weight easier than those who only get 5 hours of sleep a night.
Lack of a proper amount of sleep creates a hormone imbalance in the body which leads to overeating according to a recent study by Eve Van Cauter, a researcher at the University of Chicago. Two hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin – referred to by Cauter as “the yin and yang of hunger” – are affected by the amount of sleep one gets. “One is the accelerator for eating (Ghrelin), and the other is the brake (Leptin).”
Leptin is the hormone that tells us when we’re full. When it is working correctly, it suppresses our appetite.
Ghrelin is the hormone that tells us we need more food to keep our energy up.
When we don’t get enough sleep, both Leptin and Ghrelin get thrown out of whack. Leptin goes down, making us feel less satisfied – even when we’ve had enough food. Ghrelin goes up, stimulating our appetite.
Van Cauter’s research, which was conducted on normal weight men, found that when the men only slept for four hours a night, leptin levels were 18% lower and ghrelin levels were 28% higher after they slept four hours. These findings show hormonal reasons why a lack of sleep can lead to overeating.
Another study from the University of Chicago compared the calorie intake of people who slept 5.5 hours a day versus those who slept 8.5 hours a day.
The study found that the sleepy eaters consumed on average 221 calories a day more than those who slept over eight hours.
The extra 221 calories a day could translate to a weight gain of over a pound of fat every two weeks!
The hormonal change that occurs when Leptin levels lower and Ghrelin levels rise lead the body not to just crave more food, but foods high in fat and carbohydrates.
Why is it that people are overweight due to a lack of sleep? Is it the busy American lifestyle, stress or just plain staying up at night and watching the late show? The one thing people may be overlooking is their mattress. If you have an old mattress that’s losing its shape, it could be making you out of shape. A poor-quality mattress that’s unsuited to your body type is guaranteed to reduce the amount and quality of your sleep. Staying up all night tossing and turning on a 12-year-old mattress that might be too small or too firm will cause your body’s internal processes to function sub-optimally. This in turn can lead to weight gain despite your best efforts to stay fit.
On the other hand, a new mattress that provides proper support for the spine, lower back and neck can help people sleep through the night without tossing and turning.
If you are having a hard time getting the proper amount of sleep to maintain a healthy and attractive weight, the problem could be what lies beneath you every night — your mattress.
These days, the magic equation to weight loss isn’t just watching what you eat and getting off the couch, it’s diet, exercise and sleep. How much sleep should you get each night to lose weight or maintain your ideal weight? The tried-and-true time of eight hours a night is exactly what you need to maintain a healthy weight. These three lifestyle changes work well together, too. Exercise during the day helps you fall asleep at night and not eating too much helps you exercise as well as sleep soundly. And at the day, literally, sound sleep starts — where else — with your mattress!