Sleep More, Weigh Less?

With the holidays upon us, it’s all too easy to over-indulge and pack on a few extra pounds, but a good question is what’s the relationship between eating and sleeping, or better yet, between sleeping and weight control?

Here’s one answer, courtesy of a University of Michigan researcher. If you sleep an extra hour a night, you can lose up to 14 pounds a year (to say nothing of your gain in overall mental and physical health).

This researcher’s number-crunching posited a daily diet of 2,500 calories, and he concluded that the extra hour of slumber would reduce intake by 6 percent, given that an idle hour of wakefulness often includes idle snacking and therefore additional caloric consumption.

The other side of the scenario involves studies showing that too little or too poor sleep increases eating because the body in sleep deprivation demands an energy boost, and chowing down on carbohydrates will give that energy boost — and generally weight gain to boot.

In a results-driven society, all too many of us try to keep up with the proverbial Joneses by working and socializing more and sleeping less, but there are consequences to this life-style. One such consequence certainly is sleep deprivation, which leads to productivity and focus problems in the daytime, which then further increases the vicious cycle of sleeping less and working more, all to our own detriment.

The solution is often a personal decision to slow down and enjoy sniffing the roses more, but many times physical problems still impede our sleep. It’s then that we need to seek professional help. Sleep is an essential restorative function of life. Neither caffeine nor riches in the daytime can make up for a poor night’s sleep, and you pay for that in the long term. It’s always wise to get help with sleep issues, so resolve this New Year’s to seek help.

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