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Snooze your way to slimness?

Research has shown that getting enough sleep is one of the keys to managing appetite and weight.

In a study of more than 9,000 people, researchers from Columbia University reported that people who slept fewer than seven hours were more likely to be obese. In fact, people who snoozed six or fewer hours were 27 per cent more likely to be obese.

The scientific reason for the link between sleep shortages and weight gain is linked chemically to levels of two natural hormones. The levels rise and fall based on the amount of sleep you get.

Researchers have linked the hormones leptin and gherlin with weight management. Leptin is produced by fat cells, while gherlin is produced in the stomach.

Leptin tells your brain that you’re full, but its level falls when people are overly tired. Gherlin tells your brain you’re hungry, but its level increases with fatigue.

Keep your appetite-managing hormones at the proper level by getting the rest you need and try these tips:

Stay on a schedule with your sleep patterns. Go to bed the same time on weeknights and weekends.

Don’t nap after 3 p. m.

Unwind before bedtime. Listen to music or read. Take a warm bath.

If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity.

Avoid nightcaps (alcoholic drinks). Drinking alcohol may make you sleepy; however, you may wake up when the effects wear off.

Avoid large meals or large amounts of beverages before bed.

If you have persistent issues with sleeping, see a health-care professional.

– Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, L. R. D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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