Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tip of the Week: Make Sure You're Getting 6-8 hours of ZZZZZZZZZ's Each Night!

More and more research shows that your body needs a precise timeframe of sleep (6-8 hours) each night in order to work properly and have the most efficient metabolism. Over 35% of Americans are classified as obese (BMI >30 kg/m2), with an estimated 28% of those getting <6 hours of sleep per night. There are several studies linking sleep deprivation and childhood/adolescent obesity, which has been attributed to increased daily screen time and calorie consumption. In one recent study [done by well-qualified PSU professors ;-)], researchers found that people who were sleep deprived have increases in the hormone ghrelin (hunger-stimulator), decreases in leptin (regulates energy intake, energy expenditure, and signals satiety/fullness to the brain), and reduced insulin sensitivity.
Another study I blogged about on April 12th linked lack of sleep and altered sleep patterns in night-shift workers to an increased risk for diabetes and obesity due to disruption of the natural circadian rhythm of the body. We all knew sleep was important for feeling alert, concentrating, and for keeping ourselves healthy, but now we have even more motivation to make sleep a priority- to keep our bodies thin and svelt!

My recommendation:  Do whatever you can to make sure you get between 6-8 hours of sleep each night.  Make sure you block out this time to at least lie in your bed if you have real trouble sleeping- don’t stay up watching TV or going on the computer! Practicing meditation and exercising daily should help you sleep, but talk to your doc if you still have issues falling or staying asleep. Don’t go without this issue being addressed! Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your body and potentially make you gain weight- which will cause a slew of other health issues for you!

"Partial Sleep Deprivation and Energy Balance in Adults: An Emerging Issue for Consideration by Dietetics Practitioners," Julie D. Shlisky, PhD; Terryl J. Hartman, PhD, MPH, RD; Penny M. Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD; Connie J. Rogers, PhD, MPH; Neil A. Sharkey, PhD; Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, PhD, RD. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 112/Issue 11 (November 2012), DOI:10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.032, published by Elsevier.

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