Diet, Lifestyle and Sleep

October 21st, 2010

By Nedeltcheva AV et al: “The barriers to maintaining healthy body weight are complex and include physiologic, psychological, and social factors” according to an editorial in an Annals study.

“If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels,” Penev said. “Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent.”

“Perhaps sleep should be included as part of the lifestyle package that traditionally has focused on diet and exercise…”

This phenomenon could connect the rising obesity rates with the decline in average sleep duration in our society. Alternatively, the connection between sleep loss and weight loss could explain why counting calories doesn’t always work for some people, or contribute to the observed sleep difficulties in overweight or obese people. Regardless, it appears that a full night’s rest should be considered a part of any healthy diet.

Why would losing sleep mean a less efficient diet? The sleep-deprived brain may send different signals to its body; ghrelin levels were again increased in this study, and plasma levels of adrenaline were decreased after the shorter sleep period. The resting metabolic rate was also lower in subjects when they slept less, despite the longer time spent awake. Faced with providing energy for 19 hours of wakefulness instead of 16, the body may resort to breaking down muscle for energy instead of fat, the authors hypothesize – like burning a log instead of newspaper.

Article From The University of Chicago Medical Center

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