We know that more than 65 percents of Americans are overweight. It is also well known that about the same percentage does not get required eight hours of sleep. Coincidence? Scientists say no. A study conducted by Dr. Karine Spiegel and her team from the UniversitÃ© Claude Bernard in Lyon, France, shows that insufficient sleep affects how we metabolize glucose, leading to weight gain and obesity. The same study found that there is a direct link between the fact that an average American sleeps two hours less than 20 years ago and the increased obesity in the country.
Everyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it is no walk in the park. We try and try and only get more frustrated as our efforts show no results. But, it is possible that we are doing everything right, but are not getting enough sleep. There are two hormones which are at work here: leptin, which sends signal to our brain that we had enough to eat, and ghrelin, which affects our hunger and appetite. Scientists say that the less we sleep the more ghrelin is found in our blood and the hungrier we feel. So, a few extra hours of sleep would decrease the concentration of ghrelin and we would wake up with no appetite for those pancakes.
But, if you think that now you can stop dieting and quit your gym membership and just go to sleep, think again. Nothing is ever that simple. We know that lack of sleep makes us slow and with no energy and that we often turn to carbs, especially sweets, to bust us up. Experts claim that there are many factors that affect production of the hormones guilty for our appetite. Stress, genetics, our diet and exercise level also affect the production of ghrelin and leptin in our bodies.
So, no magic bullet for losing weight, just good old healthy diet and increased exercise. Good night sleep should be just another part of a healthy lifestyle. At least now we know why we feel so hungry when we wake up after a sleepless night. The choice is a no brainer: good seven or eight hours of sleep and a light breakfast vs. short, restless sleep and a big bacon and eggs breakfast. We do not need scientists to tell us the results of a wrong choice.