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Old 02-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #5
kaplods
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Location: Wausau, WI
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Chronic sleep deprivation (more than a couple weeks) can cause a lot of nasty things. Difficulty losing weight may be the least of them.

I burned the candle at both ends for several years working a full-time plus job while going to graduate school, then always working at least a job and a half (and single so not having to take care of anyone but me).

Sleep deprivation for me, resulted in fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. My neurologist explained that the symptoms of short-term sleep deprivation in humans are very much like fibromyalgia. Pain, fatigue, memory loss. Long-term studies aren't done, because it would be too unethical. Lab rats deprived of sleep long-term, die of immune disfunction - succumbing to infection their bodies would have otherwise fought off, or to autoimmune disease.

Adequate sleep is crucial not only to weight loss, but to good health, overall.

As to weight loss, you already know how your body reacts to sleep deprivation where weight is concerned. You said:

I remember how crucial adequate sleep was the last time I lost a significant amount of weight.

If it was crucial then, it probably will be crucial now. Yes, you can keep reducing your calorie level until you DO lose weight, but at what cost?

Lack of sleep makes learning more difficult. Calorie reduction does the same. So does stress. Stress also makes weight loss more difficult. Lack of sleep and stress and calorie restriction all reduce the body's ability to fight off disease. Even for people with a lot of weight to lose, dieting (restricting calories) has a negative impact on immunity, reducing resistance to infection (making it easier to catch cold, for example).


How and to what degree sleep deprivation affects you is going to be highly variable. There's no way to tell how much sleep deprivation your body and mind can handle, and for how long, but even medical schools are rethinking their policy of forcing medical students to work so long and hard in a status of sleep deprivation. The preceived benefits seem to be increasingly outweighed by the risks.

Knowing what I know now, I would have valued sleep more, and would have given it a much higher priority in my life. I still would have made some of the same sleep-depleting choices, but I'd have been much more selective about them.
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