South Beach Diet - Sleep More, Weigh Less? (Quick-Read Article)




SunshineCA
08-12-2008, 12:30 PM
Good morning everyone! :) I got this Daily Dish in my inbox from the South Beach Diet website. It talks about the lack of sleep and its effect on weight loss.

I can relate to the lack of sleep. If I get 4 hours, I'm doing well. A few more hours may help me with the battle of the bulge. ;)

Sleep More, Weigh Less?

I'm getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Could my lack of shut-eye be getting in the way of my weight-loss efforts?
—Sherry P., Chicago

Yes, there is much evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep contributes to weight gain. Scientists believe that lack of sleep lowers the amount of leptin your body produces. Leptin is a protein that suppresses appetite and tells your brain when your stomach is full. Cortisol, a hormone that is usually released in response to emotional and physical stress, is released at an increased rate when we don't get enough sleep, which also contributes to a feeling of hunger and, thus, overeating.

It is important to address the reasons you aren't sleeping well. Is your stress level or caffeine intake to blame? Or your sleeplessness could be the result of sleep apnea, a common but very serious condition in which breathing is obstructed or ceases altogether at times during sleep. Symptoms of the condition range from light snoring to waking up several times during the night, gasping for air. Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea because excess weight (especially around the neck) can obstruct the breathing passages. Losing weight by eating the South Beach Diet way and exercising regularly may relieve the obstruction, lessen snoring, and help someone breathe easier. Sleep apnea should not be taken lightly. Consult your doctor if you believe you suffer from the condition. Not only will it hinder your weight-loss efforts, but it can have serious consequences, such as high blood pressure and an increased chance of heart failure or stroke.