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Study Links Sleep Deprivation to Weight Gain

Emma Gonzalez | October 31st, 2012

Although adults should get no less than seven hours of sleep each night, more than 28% of Americans report that they survive on less than six hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation has already been linked to health problems, including heart disease, and is now associated with possible negative metabolic effects. Recent research shows that getting too little sleep can actually cause weight gain, and may be linked to the nation’s obesity epidemic.

One of the easiest ways to lose weight is by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. And now, we may have another answer to the perennial question of how to lose weight and keep it off: sleep!

Doctor-guided weight loss programs, such as those offered by The Center for Medical Weight Loss, have produced thousands of successful weight loss stories. A weight loss physician not only encourages patients to eat right, but also to get active and get the appropriate amount of sleep each night.

New report on how to lose weight: 18 controlled studies

A new report reviews information from 18 carefully controlled lab studies, each of which tested people’s behavioral and physiological responses to sleep deprivation and its impact on metabolic health. The results were published online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on October 24, 2012. Among other conclusions, researchers found that people who had no sleep-related conditions, but who got between four and six hours of nightly sleep, experienced negative metabolic consequences that affected fat-loss rates, appetite hormone signaling, eating behavior, and physical activity levels.

Sleep deprivation weight gain

Specifically, the research indicated that sleep deprivation can affect a person’s hunger and ability to know when he is full. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells the brain you’re hungry, while leptin is responsible for signaling that you are full. In one study, participants who had just two consecutive nights of four hours’ worth of sleep had 28% high hunger levels (ghrelin) and 18% lower satiation (leptin) than participants who has slept 10 hours.

In other words, the sleep deprived adults felt hungrier and were slower to feel full. Other study data showed that sleep deprivation could cause cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods; provided more hours in the day to eat; negatively impacted exercise levels; and also promoted fat gain and muscle loss.

Sleep for easy weight loss, maintaining metabolic health

It always seems like a struggle to get enough sleep, but this research pushes toward a solid, medical reason: a good night’s rest is nature’s best weight loss program. For people who have been wondering how to lose weight, rest might just be a very important part of the equation. And an enjoyable one, at that. Because a healthy lifestyle, which is one of the most natural and easiest ways to lose weight over the long-term, is about much more than just diet.

A doctor-assisted weight loss program can be a dieter’s dream-come-true. Not only do weight-loss physicians take into account each individual’s lifestyle, fitness level, food preferences and other factors, but a medical professional also has a unique take on overall health – and how to achieve it.

For more information on physician-assisted weight loss, contact The Center for Medical Weight Loss nearest you by inserting your zip code into the box at the top right. You may find that the answer to how to lose weight – and keep it off – is easier than you ever dreamed possible. Introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.