Posts Tagged ‘Fat’

You Snooze, You Lose

November 6, 2012

You snooze, you lose…weight that is!  Yes, you heard us right.  When you sleep, you lose weight and ward off modern day diseases. This old adage used to refer to the great American lifestyle – you snooze and you lose your edge, your job, your money. But the world is coming to terms with the simple fact that just the opposite is true.

“Sleep debt is like credit card debt,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PHD, Clinical Director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.  “If you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high interest rates.  If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.”

And, unfortunately for Americans, not getting enough sleep is far too common. Our lack of sleep has wreaked havoc on our society. It is time we recognize the natural rhythms of light.

Artificial light affects us all in negative ways.  According to T.S. Wiley in her book Lights Out, “The biggest change human beings have lived through in the last ten thousand years happened less than seventy years ago.  Electricity and the widespread use of the light bulb qualify, along with the discovery of fire, the advent of agriculture, and the discovery of antibiotic treatment, as a point of no return in human history.”

When we don’t get enough sleep in sync with seasonal light exposure, we alter a balance of nature that has been programmed into our physiology since day one.  This delicate biological rhythm rules the hormones and neurotransmitters that determine appetite, as well as overall mental and physical health.

Relying on artificial light to extend our day until midnight, we fool our bodies into living in a perpetual state of summer.  Anticipating the scarce food supply and forced inactivity of winter, our bodies begin storing fat and slowing our metabolism to sustain us through the months of hibernation and hunger that never arrive.

“Our internal clocks are governed by seasonal variations in light and dark; extending daylight artificially leads to a craving for sugar, especially concentrated refined carbohydrates that in turn, cause obesity.  More seriously, lack of sleep inhibits the production of prolactic and melatonin – derailing our immune systems and causing depression, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer,” says T.S. Wiley.

According to the NIH research cited in the book, Lights Out, six hours of prolactic production in the dark is the minimum necessary to maintain immune function like T-cell and beneficial killer-cell production.  But you can’t get six hours of prolactic secretion on six hours of sleep a night; it takes at least three and a half hours of melatonin secretion before your body even makes prolactin.  That is 9.5 hours of needed sleep every night, for proper immune function.

The connection is clear.  Scale back on arduous gym sessions and endless calorie counting.  There is a much more relaxing way to slim down – grabbing some extra shut-eye.  Say goodnight to getting fat.

Here are some tips on helping you sleep from Dr. Frank Lipman:

  1. By 10 pm, stop sitting in front of your computer or TV screen and switch off all other electronic devices. They are too stimulating to the brain and inhibit the release of sleep neurotransmitters.
  2. Dim the lights an hour or more before going to bed; take a warm bath; listen to calming music or soothing sounds. Remove any distractions (mental and physical) that will prevent you from sleeping.
  3. Going to bed around the same time everyday even on weekends, is the most important thing you can do to establish good sleep habits.
  4. Our bodies need complete darkness for production of the important sleep hormone, melatonin. If your bedroom is not pitch dark when you go to sleep, it interferes with this key process and disrupts your circadian rhythms.

Interested in learning more about the issues surrounding weight loss, diabetes, aging and sleep?  Listen in to T.S. Wiley’s radio show “Livin’ La Vida LowCarb” and hear from real experts in all fields of science and medicine debate the top medical news alerts.

Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival is available in hard cover, as well as for your Kindle.

Visit to order your copy!


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