You May Be Missing a Critical Part of a Diet for Weight Loss

If you’re on a diet for weight loss and not losing weight, you may be overlooking the culprit.

Calorie restriction and exercise are necessary components of a diet for weight loss. But, sometimes we undermine our best efforts by another life habit that you might think is unrelated.

Remember the days when we earned bragging rights for saying we could get by on four or five hours of sleep per night?

The attitudes about the necessity of sleep have changed a lot in recent years. We now know that during sleep keeps us healthy many ways including, alleviating pain, cementing memories, improving our moods, and strengthening our immune systems.

Here’s Why a Weight Loss Diet Needs to Focus on Sleep

Have you ever noticed that when you’re sleep deprived you’re more likely to reach of the junk food and to overeat? It’s not your imagination.

The first reason is physiological. The hormone leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don't get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. The result is that you will feel hungrier. To make matters worse you’ll crave high-fat and high-calorie foods.

“Studies find that depriving people of sleep raises their blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, and low­ers their blood levels of leptin, a hormone that inhibits appetite,” says sleep anthropologist Kristen Knutson of the University of Chicago.

The other part is behavioral. If you're overtired, you’ll be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work.

Research Shows that Sleep Is a Critical Component of Weight Loss

· Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a sleep and obesity researcher at Columbia University in New York, led a study which involved 30 people in their 30s and 40s. When they were limited to four hours of sleep per night, they ate an average of 300 more calories than when they were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted for four nights.

· The Nurses’ Health Study investigated the sleep habits of 68,000 people. Those who slept six hours a night gained 1½ more pounds over a 16 year period than those who reported sleeping seven hours. Those who said they slept five hours or less gained 2½ more pounds.

New Evidence that Demonstrates the Link between Sleep and Your Weight

Now researchers in the United Kingdom have confirmed the tie between sleep deprivation and weight gain with a new meta-analysis.

They pooled the results of 11 earlier clinical trials, and analyzed them to determine what they showed regarding the link between inadequate sleep and weight gain.

When they considered all the research, they concluded that after just one night of sleep deprivation the average person consumes and additional 385 calories. And they got those extra calories by choosing fattier foods than they normally would eat.

That’s the equivalent of eating an extra Starbucks Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie (380 calories) or a McDonald’s Hot Fudge Sundae (340 calories) every day!

That could put 40 extra pounds on you every year. Yikes!

�`�qL�

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS