Dr. Phil’s Tip For Shedding Weight With A Good Nights Sleep

Posted on September 26, 2012 by


Getting to bed at a decent time has always been said to give you your beauty rest—but now we know it can also help you to achieve a lean body. Good sleep is key to permanent weight loss. Individuals who are not sleep deprived have an increased capacity to lose weight and keep it off. What is the link between sleep and a healthy body composition? It seems the answer lies in the maintenance of hormonal balance.

Cortisol and Weight Gain

Because of its effect on blood sugar regulation, sleep debt has a harmful impact on carbohydrate metabolism, leaving us at risk of fat gain, especially around the waist.

Sufficient rest and recuperation effectively reduces our stress hormone, cortisol. When we are sleep deprived, cortisol elevates. Cortisol controls our appetite, often making us feel hungry even when we have eaten enough, raises blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in increased fat deposition around the abdomen.

To complicate the situation further, high cortisol can negatively affect our sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall or stay asleep when we finally do go to bed. According to a study published in the Lancet, sleep deprivation causes an elevation of stress hormone levels in the evening as well as heightened stress response. This increase in stress hormone also has detrimental effects on other aspects of our endocrine system, such as thyroid gland function, which governs our metabolism.

Metabolic Syndrome

Another recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrated a link between the length of time of shift-work and body mass index or wait-to-hip ratio, a marker of abdominal fat. These studies have led to the conclusion that chronic sleep derivation could predispose to metabolic syndrome and result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The effects are similar to those seen in normal aging. Sleep debt may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders, such as weight gain and elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels, linked to metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), a leading cause of diabetes and heart disease.

Leptin and Weight Gain

Because sleep affects the hormonal balance necessary for effective weight loss, you must watch your sleep habits just as closely as you monitor your exercise and dietary habits. A lack of sleep has an effect on the appetite control hormone leptin. Leptin, produced by our fat cells, acts as a signal to the brain that allows us to determine when we are full or when we should continue eating. Leptin levels naturally increase when we are sleeping and drop when we are sleep deprived. This causes us to feel excessively hungry, and the tendency to overeat is increased. Leptin’s appetite-suppressing effect may be the key to weight-loss medications in the future

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