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Health Blog

The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


Why Sleep Is An Important Factor in Weight Loss

Mark Neumann

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According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one-third of Americans (36.5%) suffer from obesity, and the estimated annual cost to medically treat obesity was $147 billion in 2008. On average, it costs $1,429 more per year to treat an obese individual than someone with a healthy weight. The stakes are high, but how can we combat obesity? One, often overlooked areas of health is the amount of sleep we get each night. Keep reading to learn why sleep is an important factor in weight loss.

Monitor Sleep

Sleep is a critical part of our day-to-day lives. An absence of sleep – or too much sleep – can severely hinder the way our bodies function. Starting a workout routine, going back to the gym, or beginning a new diet program can be a drastic lifestyle change – even when undertaken in the best of circumstances. If that change is integrated into an already chaotic schedule, filled with work, deadlines, family obligations, and civic responsibilities, it’s important to start slow, know your body, and monitor how much or how little you’re sleeping each night.

Too Little Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain

Studies have shown not getting enough sleep can cause you to gain weight. A few of the interesting findings include:

· A study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that getting less than five hours of sleep increased the likelihood of obesity in children by 89%, and 55% in adults.

· A lack of sleep can manipulate levels of ghrelin and leptin – the hunger hormones. Ghrelin increases your appetite, while leptin decreases it. Another NIH study found that people who slept shorter durations had 14.9% higher ghrelin levels and 15.5% lower leptin levels than individuals with normal sleep patterns.

· Sustained restful sleep can reduce your urge to eat. An NIH study found that individuals who slept more were less likely to endure cravings in the middle of the night.

It’s import to know that sleep can increase your cardiovascular output. Research has shown a restful sleep can improve the duration and intensity of your workout, increasing the speed at which weight loss can be achieved and/or reducing the frequency at which you’ll need to work out to achieve fitness goals.

If weight loss is your goal, not getting enough sleep can be counterproductive to that end. It’s important to make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep to ensure your body is working with you, not against you.

Ready to Get Started? Summer Is Just Ahead

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