Posts Tagged ‘sleep patterns’

While I have taken time off from writing about nutrition, I hope you initiated many points stressed earlier foZzzz, -, comique, expression Cliparts vectorisésr safe weight loss. As fall creeps closer, you may plan to put aside a carefree summer and concentrate on a healthier you.

I last discussed the foolishness of attempting to lose ten pounds in a short time. I listed several lifestyle factors other than food and exercise that may impact weight. One was sleep. Researchers found that individuals who were sleep-deprived for five days ate more carbohydrates and gained nearly two pounds.

Sleep loss affects metabolism. It increases insulin resistance causing the body to want more energy-dense food. That’s right. Losing sleep causes us to want more junk food. The body produces more ghrelin—the hunger hormone, and less leptin—the fullness hormone. We tend to eat more snacks while exercising less and consume about 300 more calories per day.

Poor sleep habits of parents may result in overweight children. A parent’s routine influenced sleep patterns of children in the household. Parents who stayed up late or had irregular bedtime schedules usually allowed their children to do the same. Children whose parents slept less than seven hours were 1.3 times more likely to become overweight. The researchers suggested that children’s bedtime stay constant to help abate weight gain.

Probably the most compelling evidence of how sleep affects obesity came from a study of more than 1,000 children followed from age six months to seven years. Mothers kept a detailed account of sleep patterns. Researchers assessed the children at age seven for weight, BMI, waist-hip circumference, body fat, and skin-fold thickness. Children who got the least sleep were two and a half times more likely to be obese, had more abdominal and body fat, and had larger waist and hip measurements.

Sleep-loss affects our circadian rhythm, especially in shift workers who are more than twice as susceptible to metabolic syndrome (a conditions including excessive weight) than regular daytime workers.

How can you get more sleep and a good night’s rest? Consider the following:

  • Set a specific bedtime. Get into a routine of going to bed earlier.
  • Avoid stimulating activities and excitement several hours before bedtime including use of electronic devices.
  • Choose a sleep-inducing environment. Comfortable temperatures, quiet surroundings, and a darkened room encourage sleep.
  • Select sleep-friendly foods in the evening. Many foods contain specific nutrients which contribute directly or indirectly to the production of melatonin, a body substance that influences sleep. Some choices include milk products, apples, bananas, almonds, turkey, and whole grains. Chamomile and other herbal teas have a calming effect.
  • Avoid non-sleep-friendly foods. High-fat meals in the evening may cause gastric distress that disturbs sleep.
  • Avoid high-sugar foods and caffeine at night. Sweets increase blood-sugar levels and give a burst of energy. Limit caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.

Getting adequate sleep may help you and your children maintain appropriate weight or to lose unwanted pounds. Eventually you could awaken to a slimmer you. Sweet dreams.




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