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Con­trol weight by go­ing to bed

Los­ing sleep doesn’t just leave you tired — it can make you fat

- Nanci Hellmich @nan­cihellmich USA TO­DAY Health · Health Tips · Women's Health · Child Health · Medicine · Aging · Lifestyle · Healthy Living · Sleep Disorders · Weight · Sleep · College · Health Conditions · Higher Education · Chicago · University of Chicago · Colorado · Boulder · University of Colorado · University of Colorado at Boulder

If you want to lose weight, be sure to get enough sleep.

Most people know they should cut calo­ries and ex­er­cise more to trim down, but there’s now sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that an­other cru­cial com­po­nent to weight con­trol is avoid­ing sleep de­pri­va­tion, sleep sci­en­tists say.

“There is no doubt that in­suf­fi­cient sleep pro­motes hunger and ap­petite, which can cause ex­ces­sive food in­take re­sult­ing in weight gain,” says Eve Van Cauter, di­rec­tor of the Sleep, Me­tab­o­lism and Health Cen­ter at the Univer­sity of Chicago. She has spent 15 years study­ing the topic.

Sleep de­pri­va­tion prob­a­bly af­fects ev­ery process in the body, Van Cauter says. “Our body is not wired for sleep de­pri­va­tion. The hu­man is the only mam­mal that does this.” Her re­search and that of oth­ers may help ex­plain why so many people who are chron­i­cally sleep-de­prived are also over­weight, and how lack of sleep could be part of the rea­son col­lege stu­dents, new par­ents and shift work­ers pack on pounds. HOW LACK OF SLEEP HURTS Stud­ies show that when people don’t get enough sleep, they:

Have in­creased lev­els of a hunger hor­mone called ghre­lin and de­creased lev­els of the sati­ety/full­ness hor­mone called lep­tin, which could lead to overeat­ing and weight gain.

Con­sume 300 calo­ries a day more than when they are rested. Over­all, most of the ex­tra calo­ries came from high-fat foods.

Snack more and are less

ac­tive.

Eat more than what is needed to cover the en­ergy cost of stay­ing awake longer, es­pe­cially at night, which can lead to sig­nifi-

“In­suf­fi­cient sleep pro­motes hunger and ap­petite, which can cause ex­ces­sive food in­take.” Eve Van Cauter, di­rec­tor of the Sleep, Me­tab­o­lism and Health Cen­ter at the Univer­sity of Chicago.

cant weight gain.

Re­search has shown that when study sub­jects did not get enough sleep for five days, they con­sumed more car­bo­hy­drates and gained nearly 2 pounds in that time. “When people are sleepy, they make poor food choices and are more likely to eat more than they need,” says Kenneth Wright, di­rec­tor of the Sleep and Chrono­bi­ol­ogy Lab­o­ra­tory at the Univer­sity of Colorado-Boul­der.

When those folks got enough sleep, they cut their in­take of car­bo­hy­drates and fats, Wright says.

Other re­search shows that too lit­tle sleep plays havoc with fat cells, which may lead to weight gain and di­a­betes, and that get­ing enough sleep helps fight a ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion to gain weight.

Van Cauter says sleep de­pri­va­tion af­fects the body in many dif­fer­ent ways. For in­stance, it ac­ti­vates a small part of the hy­po­thal­a­mus, the re­gion of the brain that also is in­volved in ap­petite reg­u­la­tion.

In ad­di­tion to ghre­lin and lep­tin, other hor­mones in­volved in ap­petite reg­u­la­tion are af­fected by lack of sleep, she says. “We are look­ing at en­do­cannabi­noids, which are in­creased in the af­ter­noon in people who are sleep­de­prived. These hor­mones pro­mote eat­ing for plea­sure, which is called ‘he­do­nic eat­ing.’ ” FAT CELLS FEEL IT, TOO An­other re­cent dis­cov­ery: Lack of sleep re­duces fat cells’ abil­ity to re­spond prop­erly to the hor­mone in­sulin, which is cru­cial for reg­u­lat­ing en­ergy stor­age and use, Van Cauter says. Plus, in­sulin pro­motes the re­lease of lep­tin, so if your fat cells are less in­sulin-sen­si­tive, you will make less lep­tin, which is as­so­ci­ated with an in­crease in food con­sump­tion and weight gain, she says.

In­sulin and lep­tin con­trib­ute in­de­pen­dently to fat in­take or stor­age, says Matthew Brady, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of medicine at the Univer­sity of Chicago and the se­nior au­thor of the study on sleep de­pri­va­tion and fat cells. “There is a grow­ing body of ev­i­dence that agrees that sleep de­pri­va­tion can lead to greater chance of weight gain.”

Sleep needs vary, but in gen­eral, most young adults need seven to nine hours a night, says Van Cauter. There are some people who can do with less, and oth­ers who need more. With ag­ing, sleep need de­creases to about seven to eight hours a night, she says.

 ?? PHO­TOS BY BRETT ROSE­MAN FOR USA TO­DAY ?? Ca­reese An­der­son, a study par­tic­i­pant, meets with Eve Van Cauter of the Sleep, Me­tab­o­lism and Health Cen­ter.
PHO­TOS BY BRETT ROSE­MAN FOR USA TO­DAY Ca­reese An­der­son, a study par­tic­i­pant, meets with Eve Van Cauter of the Sleep, Me­tab­o­lism and Health Cen­ter.
 ??  ?? With ag­ing, sleep need de­creases, says Eve Van Cauter.
With ag­ing, sleep need de­creases, says Eve Van Cauter.

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