Monday, April 21, 2008

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

I just read an article on "The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep" and it had some interesting insights. According to the article, when we sleep our body produces hormones. Two of these hormones are leptin and ghrelin and both can influence our appetite. These two hormones work together in that ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin, sends signals to the brain that we are full. If you don't get enough sleep leptin levels are driven down which keeps you from feeling satisfied after you eat. In turn ghrelin rises causing your appetite to be stimulated. In retrospect when I go to bed full (really full) I usually wake up starving and thinking about that when I do go to bed that full I usually have severe nightmares. Therefore I'm not getting good sleep which is what the article goes on to say. We need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to produce the proper portions of theses hormones for the next days dieting.

There were two studies sited and the Stanford study seemed to shed more light on the subject stating that "Those who slept less than eight hours a night not only had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, but they also had a higher level of body fat...those who slept the fewest hours per night weighed the most." It goes on to say that we are all different in the way that our bodies react to these hormones like those with sleep apnea who do not have low levels of leptin but actually very high levels and when treated for the apnea those levels drop and it seems to help them lose weight. So it may not be our levels of these hormones that matters as much as our response to them. It finally states that "Until doctors do know more, most experts agree that if you are dieting, logging in a few extra hours of sleep a week is not a bad idea, particularly if you get six hours of sleep or less a night. You may just discover that you aren't as hungry, or that you have lessened your craving for sugary, calorie-dense foods."

So I guess we need good sleep to help us get through the next day's cravings and overeating. I'll just have to call the friend of mine who told me that I was going to bed too late for healthy weight loss because it's not when you sleep but how you sleep. And I'm sure not getting healthy sleep at night. Got to work on that and find out how I can sleep better. How about you?

I lost another 1.5 lbs this week, YEA!


Donna said...

It's a tough questioned, I've wondered, trying to fall asleep at night, "Is it healthier for me to get up an hour earlier and work out or is it better to sleep in that extra hour."

I know the "duh" answer is I should go to bed an hour earlier so I can get up an hour earlier. Then I'll get the best of both worlds... but if I had to choose one over the other, I wonder which is better.

Thanks for sharing!

->cara said...

VERY interesting! I know I'll lose weight the more I sleep. I've even lost as much as a pound between 2am and 6am.

Now I know the science behind why that happens.

Note to self... always get at least 8 (preferably 10) hours of sleep the night before WI! :)

BTW, CONGRATULATIONS on the 1.5 pounds!!!