Discussion
  • Great article. The sad part is that this is a vicious cycle. The heavier you are, the worse your sleep quality is due to apnea, snoring or discomfort added by the additional weight on your spine, etc as you are in bed. I know since coming to H3, my sleep quality is 1000% better and snoring is completely gone.

    From Lyle Orr
    August 12, 2011

  • Lyle, thanks for the comment. Glad to hear that your sleep has improved.

    From Bob Wright
    August 16, 2011

The Weight of Sleep Deprivation

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If you are one of the estimated 50 – 70 million Americans that suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, it’s time to WAKE UP and start taking sleep seriously.

Sleep deprivation makes you feel lousy, reduces productivity, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cognitive decline, motor vehicle accidents and of course obesity. In fact, mounting evidence suggests that for many lack of sleep maybe their greatest risk factor for gaining weight.

We have known for a long time that sleep deprivation disturbs the production and release of hormones that influence appetite regulation. One of those hormones, ghrelin, is an appetite stimulant. Previous studies have confirmed that those who are sleep deprived have higher levels of ghrelin, leading to increased cravings for highly refined carbohydrates. New evidence suggests the consequences of higher levels of ghrelin are not only limited to increased appetite. A study conducted at the University of Chicago, one of the top sleep research centers in the world, found that higher levels of ghrelin not only stimulate hunger, it reduces energy expenditure and promotes the retention of fat. Study director, Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, said if your goal is to lose fat, “skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels. Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose weight through dieting. In our study it reduced fat lose by 55%.” So even if through shear motivation and determination you are able to fight through the exhaustion and cravings sleep loss has caused and stick to your exercise and nutrition plan, you still don’t experience the success you deserve.

But getting a good night sleep is easier said than done, if you think that your quality of life and ability to manage your weight has been effected by sleep deprivation, a good place to start learning more about sleep and improving it is the National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org.  There are also a couple of  books you might want check out, Say Good Night to Insomnia, by Gregg Jacobs, PhD and Herbert Benson, MD. Their treatment plan improved sleep in 100% of the insomniacs tested, and allowed 90% to reduce or eliminate their use of sleeping pills. Tested at the Harvard Medical School, the six week, drug free program conquered insomnia in a large majority of patients. Another book to check out was just released entitled The Sleep Doctors Diet Plan – Lose Weight Through Better Sleep. This book was written by Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is the first book that I have seen that specifically addressed the sleep-weight issue.

If you continue to have problems sleeping, talk to your doctor about a referral to a sleep specialist.

Life has never been more hectic and time has never been more difficult to manage. I had a guest recently who said to me, “how can I afford to spend any more time sleeping,” and my response was “how can you afford not to.”

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