Chronic Sleep Loss May Increase Hunger - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/2/03

Chronic Sleep Loss May Increase Hunger

Are you one of millions of people planning to lose weight in the new year? If so, does this sound familiar?

"Everybody makes a New Year's resolution," said Eric Wurtz, who's trying to lose weight.

"You make it, you lose a few pounds, and then you end up putting it back."

"I make a resolution to lose weight every year, and I never seem to do it."

If you try every year to lose weight and fail, some experts suggest two simple words: think sleep. Studies in the journal of the American Medical Association, and the Lancet suggest that chronic sleep loss may increase hunger and affect the body's metabolism, which in turn can make it more difficult to maintain or lose weight. The recommendation still stands, eight hours of sleep per night for adults. But according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, less than one-third of adults get that much sleep on weeknights, a trend that may be contributing to America's weight problem.

"Most people don't realize that good sleep habits are important for a successful weight reduction program. If people have trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep, then they should see their physician because there are safe and effective treatments available for sleep problems," said Michael Thorpy, M.D., a Neurologist.

Dr. Thorpy says there are a few more tips on getting a good night's sleep:

  • You don't want to go to bed hungry, but at the same time, don't eat a big meal just before bedtime. 
  • It's good to exercise regularly, but try to avoid that within three hours of going to bed. 
  • Follow the clock. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day including weekends and that will help your system get used to a regular sleep pattern.
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