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Stay slim with a good night’s sleep

Missing out on sleep could lead to weight gain as it causes us to eat more than our normal appetite.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 24, 2012 00:49 IST

Missing out on sleep could lead to weight gain as it causes us to eat more than our normal appetite

If your weight refuses to drop despite all your efforts, then those sleepless nights could be the culprit. A new study shows that lack of sleep can boost hunger signals in the brain and raise levels of the hormones that affect appetite, causing us to eat more than we should.

As per the editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, sleep habits should be considered along with diet and exercise in designing programs to help obese people lose weight. There is strong evidence that not enough sleep contributes to the obesity epidemic, and considering that sleep gets less attention than diet and exercise, that may be partly why many weight-loss efforts fail, say the researchers.

Among many studies, the scientists point to a 2010 study from the University of Chicago (published in the Annals of Internal Medicine) in which participants were randomly assigned to sleep either 5.5 hours or 8.5 hours every night in a sleep lab for 14 days. Subjects reduced their calorie intake by 680 calories. Those who slept 5.5 hours lost 55% less body fat, and 60% more of their lean body mass than those who dozed longer.

Further research could offer ways people could get more sleep, such as trimming back on television viewing in the evening, to see whether
it affects diet success, the researchers added.

Enjoy a peaceful sleep
* Be careful about what you eat. Caffeine and tobacco intake before hitting the bed disrupts sleep patterns. Go for drinks such as hot milk, camomile, anise or fennel tea. Also, don’t eat too much as your body will find it difficult to digest the food.
* Declutter your bedroom. Don’t overstuff your bedroom with things you do not require. Also don’t use your bed for finishing official work or studying.
* Take a warm bath. It helps you relax immediately. Add some bath salts into the bathing water.
* Play some nice soft music. Music always helps in de-stressing and soothing a tired mind.
* There is nothing as relaxing as a body massage. Get a massage just before hitting the bed. Even a little back rub or a head massage can be of great help.

First Published: Sep 23, 2012 16:41 IST