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Catch Some Zzzz’s To Ward off Weight Gain

By HERWriter
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Weight Loss related image Photo: Getty Images

You eat right, you exercise and yet you still cannot get to your weight loss goal. The answer could be that you’re not giving yourself enough recovery, downtime or most importantly, sleep.

Sleep is so pertinent to making sure you maintain optimum health. Sleep restores all of the resources our body depletes throughout the day. It is essential for repairing muscles, as well as helping them grow. It is also a leading component needed for tissue repair and hormone function.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, millions of Americans do not get enough sleep or suffer from lack of sleep. For example, “surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more.”

It is recommended that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night in order to feel well rested. However, an even more recent study has found that Americans are getting less and less sleep than they did in the past. Lawrence J. Epstein, a Sleep Physician at Harvard University and contributor to Newsweek.com cites several studies about the decline in America’s sleep habits.

“A 2005 National Sleep Foundation poll found that Americans averaged 6.9 hours of sleep per night, which represents a drop of about two hours per night since the 19th century, one hour per night over the past 50 years, and about 15 to 25 minutes per night just since 2001.”

A study last year at the University of Pennsylvania purposely deprived participants of sleep. The volunteers got only six hour of sleep each night for a period of two weeks. Although, they reported that they only felt a little more sleepy, cognitive function tests showed otherwise. “By the end of the two-week test, they were as impaired as subjects who had been awake continuously for 48 hours.”

Sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity and obesity related illnesses such as high blood pressure and heart disease. However, the restorative effects of sleep can help reverse some health related side-effects.

The University of Chicago study on sleep duration and appetite found that allowing the study subjects to sleep 10 hours for two consecutive nights returned the hormones to normal levels and lowered hunger and appetite ratings by almost 25 percent.

Epstein goes on to say, “ It is a lot easier to prevent weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease by getting enough sleep than it is to treat these problems once they develop.”

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Reviewed July 29, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Shannon Koehle

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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