Friday, February 08, 2013

“Snooze to Lose” is one Way to Increase Weight Loss

It may seem too good to be true, but research has linked a good night’s sleep to helping kick off that last 10 pounds of weight loss according to Dr. Pam Duitsman, a nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Greene County.

“Studies have shown that regular sleep deprivation increases our desire for high-calorie foods, increases the overall amount of calories we choose to eat, and increases weight gain. Studies suggest this is true in adults, children and adolescents,” said Duitsman.

One study showed that adults who were only permitted to get two-thirds their normal amount of sleep a night ate more than 500 additional calories each day compared with the group who was getting a full nights rest.

“Several studies have shown that when overweight or obese adults go on calorie-restricted diets, the amount of sleep they are getting each night is linked to how much weight was lost at the end of the study period,” said Duitsman.

One study looking at weight loss showed those sleeping 8.5 hours per night, (compared to those sleeping 5.5 hours per night) lost more body fat while dieting.

Not only is the amount of sleep, but also the quality of sleep is important to balance hormonal activity.

“It seems that when we don’t get enough zzzz’s, the hormone leptin decreases, which causes us to not feel quite as satisfied after we eat. A lack of sleep also causes another hormone (ghrelin) to rise, and this stimulates our appetite – making us feel insatiable,” said Duitsman.

A good night’s sleep helps these two hormones work to stabilize our appetite in a check and balance method. Stress levels also influence these two hormones, and stress is also associated with poor sleep habits.

“Getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, and more than 9 hours per night are both linked to a greater body mass index,” said Duitsman.

The mere act of sleeping won’t cause you to lose weight. But combining good sleep habits with a healthy diet and exercise can help in the shedding of pounds.

“Strive for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep, and you may just find that you aren’t as hungry, and that high-calorie food cravings go away,” said Duitsman.

For more information on nutrition, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Greene County, (417) 881-8909; or Cammie Younger in Texas County, (417) 967-4545

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