Be Dedicated to Sleep in 2013!

January has always been a time for looking back to the past, but more importantly, forward to the coming year.  It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.  In 2012, the most common resolution was to lose weight and I am sure for years past and year to come, it will remain the number one goal for many Americans.  With January underway, was your resolution to lose weight?  Well, don’t just plan on counting your calories and buying a gym membership.


According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, adequate sleep is as important part of a weight loss plan, as the usual mix of diet and exercise.  There is significant evidence that inadequate sleep is contributing to obesity.  In fact, lack of sleep increases the stimulus to consume more food and increases appetite-regulating hormones.  According to Dr. Jean-Phillippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, “the solution to weight loss is not as simple as ‘eat less, move more’.  An accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleep habits should not be overlooked when prescribing a weight-reduction program to a patient with obesity.  Sleep should be included as part of the lifestyle package that traditionally has focused on diet and physical activity.”  Additional research has been found that total sleep time and quality of sleep predicted the loss of fat in people enrolled in a weight loss program.


Further research suggests that sleep behavior affects body weight control and that sleep loss has ramifications not only for how many calories we consume but also for how much energy we burn off.   Many scientists are finding a relationship between insufficient sleep and an increase in risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.  This research is telling us when we are sleep deprived we are likely to eat more calories because we are hungrier.  This alone might cause us to gain weight over time.  However, sleep loss also means we burn off fewer calories which adds to the risk of gaining weight.  The research clearly supports the notion that sleep is involved in the balance between the amount of calories we eat and the amount we use up through activity and metabolism.

So, this year, vow to sleep more in 2013 – you won’t be sorry you did!


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