Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

You Need Your Sleep...To Be Thin!

Sleep necessity studies have been widely done and reported. Most folks, according to research, need between seven and nine hours of sleep with teens needing the most and older people needing less. The research done had a primary focus on being able to attend to important details throughout the day: a sharp focus was the acknowledged result of adequate sleep. Now, however, there is an important study that links sleep to weight.
Of course, it makes sense if I look at my eating habits: if I stay up late watching a movie, I'm tempted to grab high-calorie, tasty foods like chips or ice cream. No vegetable slices there! I suspect it would be the same for most people. Not surprisingly, given that information, the study done at the Perelman School of Medicine at Pennsylvania University and published in the journal Sleep (who knew?) noted the effects of sleep deprivation and associated weight gains.
The study is significant in two ways: first, it was a large one, following 225 people, and second, it was performed in a lab where every detail could be controlled. The results showed a significant increase in weight gain for some people and less for others...based on race and gender.
Researchers allowed participants to eat generally everything they wanted whenever they wanted and studied the results differences between those who went to bed at a normal time and those who were sleep-deprived "night owls" getting only 4 hours of sleep over a five-day period. It was discovered that the sleep-deprived subjects added 550 calories per day after 11 p.m. and most of those calories were from fat. As a result, weight gain was significant.
African-American men put on the most weight: an average of 3.7 pounds in five days. African-American women and white men gained an average of 2.2 pounds during that period while white women upped their total by .7 pounds.
The obvious point is to go to bed, but what about shift workers? Our brains are wired to consume calories when we are awake to stave off the challenges of the day. When we disrupt the circadian clock, the results can be devastating...and for shift workers, their internal clocks are always in disarray, placing them at greater risk for many health issues.
Sleep is vital...but that bowl of ice cream looks good (though the viewer needs to back away from the television a bit...hard on his eyes!).


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