Day 285: Sleep more = lose weight?

15 10 2010

A study published this month has found that sleep is one of the more beneficial diet tools available. Two groups of overweight non-smokers were put on a 1450-calorie-per-day diet for 14 days. One group of participants averaged 5.5 hours of sleep each night. The other group averaged 8.5 hours. At the end of the 14 days, the people who slept more lost more fat than the ones who slept less. Even more interesting: during the 8.5 hours of sleep, more than half of the weight lost was fat (as opposed to one quarter of the weight loss during the 5.5 hours).  But wait! There’s more!

“… the folks who slept less lost more muscle (60% more muscle was lost by the sleep-deprived group.)  Those three hours of lost sleep caused a shift in metabolism that made the body want to preserve fat at the expense of muscle. And that’s not all that happened: When the researchers compared circulating blood levels of appetite-regulating  hormones in the two groups they found those who slept for three fewer hours had produced more of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin. They woke up hungrier!”

During the study, people who slept three hours longer burned 400 more calories each day, amounting to 2,800 calories in one week. For some reason, 8.5 hours seemed to be the “magic” number.

After reading this study earlier today, I started thinking about my own sleep habits. Most every night I go to bed around 11. I lie in bed and read my book until 11:45 or 12:00 most nights and I’m usually asleep within 15 to 30 minutes. My alarm clock goes off at 6 a.m. I hit snooze every 9 minutes until 6:30 (pathetic, I know), then I get up to walk the dog and get ready for work. So I average 5.5 to 6 hours sleep each night. No wonder I’m overweight! It’s not because I eat crap and don’t exercise as much as I should. It’s because I’m sleepy! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) Maybe I’ll conduct my own study: I’ll go to bed each night by 10 (or 9:30 if I want time to read) and see what the Weight Watchers scale says next Thursday.

Today’s food journal:
Funny how things seem more pathetic once I put them in writing. After typing in my food items below, I just noticed that two of my last three meals today are bread/carbs/crap. I really need to break my soft pretzel addiction. 🙂 Those things are evil. And to think I’ll have to ride my bike for 81 minutes to burn off those calories. Damn.

Breakfast:
— LF yogurt = 3 points
— 1 cup granola = 2 points

Lunch:
— Jimmy John’s Slim turkey sandwich = 8 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Dinner:
— Soft pretzel = 10 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.

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