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4 Ways Skipping Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight

April 10, 2015 2 min read

Getting enough sleep is vital to your health but it is also vital to maintaining a healthy weight. "No question about it: Sleep is vital to every aspect of health, but it's especially important in controlling weight," says David Katz, MD, founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. "We tend to think of sleep as downtime, but a better sleep comparison would be spa treatment, physical therapy, rehab, and rejuvenation, all rolled into one." Here is why sleep is so slimming:

Getting more than 6 hours of shut-eye keeps your appetite in check...

A new study published in The American Journal of Human Biology shows that getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night can impact appetite regulation. Researchers looked at brain images of participants and found that lack of sleep alters the secretion of the hunger hormones ghrelin (the hormone that makes us hungry) and leptin (the hormone that lets us know when we're full). So, you end up feeling hungrier and over eat, usually foods high in sugar, which increases your risk for developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

...and makes junk food look less tempting.

A bad night's sleep can create a weakness for high calorie, low nutrient foods, says a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. When participants got less than 4 hours of sleep a day, they were more likely to respond to food stimuli (like the sight and smell of bacon and pastries), than when they slept for 9 hours. Scientific Reports published research that says that not only do we consume more food after a sleep deprived night, we consume more fat.

A 30-minute power nap reverses the health effects of poor sleep.

If you didn't get your full hours last night, have a power nap. According to Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), a 30 minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a poor night's sleep which can reign in some of your hunger, bolster your immune system and relieve stress.

Regularly cutting sleep short by even a half-hour adds pounds.

If you are staying up a little later to finish your television show or set your alarm early to work on something first thing, a new study from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar says that losing a half hour of sleep every day for a year can lead to a 72 percent increased risk of becoming obese and 39 percent increased risk of developing insulin resistance which promotes type-2 diabetes. Hmm, like I needed another reason to nap, are ya with me?  

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