Friday, April 4, 2008

Sleep and Lose Weight

The latest research on sleep is a stunner. It sounds like a late-night infomercial: Sleep more and lose weight.

Huh? It's this easy? Who knew? I thought you had to eat less food and exercise more. But wrong! Research says you need to get more sleep. (Here are a couple links to information about the research: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/cant-shed-those-pounds, http://www.physorg.com/news72978010.html)

Okay, now I'm mad. For years I've been playing the weight loss game. And, for the record, I used to weigh a whole lot more than I weigh now, though I've yet to be mistaken for Heidi Klum. I am not thin, or anything close to it, but I'm working my way down the numbers on the BMI chart, trying to get out of the red zone. I've worked at slowly changing bad habits and overcoming what my doctor calls a body that is built-for-a-famine because it's so stingy with the calories it burns. I've plowed through mounds of salads and vegetables and spent a small fortune on athletic shoes. And, I am continually trying to wrestle the evil twins of eating less and exercising more.

Now the researchers say I should have been sleeping more. They've discovered:

  • A correlation between lack of sleep and overeating, less physical activity and lower fruit and vegetable consumption
  • A direct link between sleep deprivation and weight gain
  • A decrease in serotonin levels in sleep-deprived people, which results in carbohydrate craving

I'm wondering if this weight loss technique can be retroactive. I missed a lot of sleep in college and during postpartum years. So, if I catch up now will the pounds melt away? Maybe if I go to bed right now and sleep for the next day or two, I'll wake up ten pounds thinner.

Hey, people have done lots stupider things to lose weight. So, maybe instead of lacing up my shoes and running to my kick-box class, I'll head back to bed.

3 comments:

Sandy said...

This sounds like one of those late night hoaxes where you can do something with too much ease. I don't know if I think it would work for me. I guess the commitment to get more sleep is a bit of a challenge with how busy my life is, but I can't believe weight loss could be that simple.

D-rail said...

well, I think this post is written a little tongue in cheek. You can't just sleep all day and lose weight (well I 'spose that if you slept all day you'd lose weight cause you wouldn't be eating, but you get my idea). But the point is that getting adequate sleep helps in weight loss. I often compare sleep to eating and drinking, and I know that it can be hard to lose weight if you're not drinking enough water daily. I think it's the same with sleep.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an older post, but I just have to comment. Maybe we can't literally "sleep away pounds", but there is definitely truth there. When I have not had enough sleep I have become aware that I eat non stop as if constantly putting food in my mouth to keep myself awake. I am definitely committing to getting enough sleep as part of my resolution to have a healthier and, hopefully, thinner year in 2009.