Recipes

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sleep - Can you affect my weight?

I have heard that sleep can make a difference in weight loss.  All I can think of is (time for the wayback machine again) in the book, Valley of the Dolls, the stars would go to Switzerland and sleep away their weight.

WHERE CAN I SIGN UP?

So, we all know that you can't really do that now.  But it seems that your sleeping patterns can affect your weight loss.  It does make sense - when you are tired or stressed it is much easier to grab that snack that calls your name then when you are rested and raring to go. But why?

Well, it seems that there are two hormones that are affected by your sleep patterns.  Ghrelin is produced in the intestinal tract and stimulates appetite while leptin is produced in the fat cells and it signals the brain when you are full.  In a study at the University of Chicago, they found that when they restricted sleep, the subject's  leptin levels went down and their ghrelin levels went up.  According to the study, the subject's desire for high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods increased 45 percent!  So if this information is correct, then all I have to do is start sleeping a lot and I will slim down in no time. 

BUT...

It seems that it is not that easy.  It is NEVER that easy.  More researchers have found that people with sleep apnea may have very high levels of leptin but when the apnea is treated that the leptin levels drop and those patients lose weight.

What they are suggesting is that if you have sleep apnea, you need to go and get it treated.  That alone may help your weight loss.  If you are trying to lose weight, work on getting a good night's sleep.  The scientist's definition of a good night's sleep is about 7.5 hours. 

Silent Sam and I have poor sleeping habits.  Both of us will fall asleep but then wake somewhere in the early hours and toss and turn.  This is not good for either of us - especially him.  His body needs to have time to recoup from his stressful day.  So I have proposed an experiment.  For the next week we are going to take the following steps:

1.  Stop working by  9 p.m. each night
2.  Have a light snack - Sam will have a sugar free pudding and I will have a small frozen yogurt
3.  Read, meditate, pray, or take a warm shower. This activity will not take place in the bedroom.
4.  In bed with lights out at 10 p.m. Also, we will block any blue lights (digital clocks). 

Supposedly, this will help us sleep better.  We will see. The information that I have found has stressed that the bedroom is only for sleep and sex. No TV, no reading in bed, nothing but sleep.  All this is like when your kids are little and you have a bedtime routine.  We will try an adult bedtime routine. 

I will let you know if this seems to make a difference in our sleeping patterns.  It couldn't make them worse! Oh and maybe this will be the key to my miracle weight loss!  (a girl can hope...)

Thanks for reading!