Not getting a good night's sleep can lead people to pack on pounds over time, say researchers who suggest regular sleep patterns to manage weight.
Researchers in the U.S. reviewed 18 studies on sleep deprivation — getting less than six hours per night — published over 15 years.
The coinciding epidemics of obesity and chronic partial sleep deprivation "seem to be curiously related," lead investigator Dr. Sharon Nickols-Richardson of the department of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University in University Park and her co-authors wrote in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Clinicians assisting in weight-loss interventions may improve patient outcomes by discussing sleep time within a healthy lifestyle intervention," the researchers wrote.
"Partial sleep deprivation resulting from lifestyle factors (e.g. work-related stress, shift-work, prolonged light, and television or computer exposure) can be distinguished from partial sleep deprivation caused by medical conditions (e.g. insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.)"
About 60 per cent (7.6 million) of Canadian men and 44 per cent (5.6 million) of women had an increased health risk because of excess weight, Statistics Canada said last year, based on self-reports. More than 28 per cent of Americans sleep fewer than six hours a night, the researchers said.
They identified a set of patterns, including reduced insulin sensitivity and changes in hormones that influence appetite and intake compared with burning of calories.
Sleep deprivation may increase the risk of overeating at night when circulating levels of the hormone leptin are low, the investigators said. Leptin is thought to promote feelings of fullness. Indeed, people feasting on midnight snacks may overeat less healthful foods.
In one experiment, estimated daily energy intake increased by more than 400 kilocalories on average during partial sleep deprivation. But most of the randomized trials included just 20 participants or less for two nights or less.
Some controlled daily food intake while others allowed people to eat as much as they wanted.
The Canadian Obesity Network includes sleep, time and stress management in its checklist for primary care practitioners counseling patients in obesity management.
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Keep Up With Your Commitments
Just like any relationship, sleeping better also requires you not to cheat -- your schedule, that is. Try to sleep around the same time each day to fall into a daily routine.
Get 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep
They say you need seven to eight hours of sleep every day -- Cederberg says 'they' are right. She says most adults function the best with at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Turn Off The Lights
To ensure a good night's sleep, make sure your room is dark. Close the curtains, turn off your lamp and the television. Cederberg says the smallest amount of light could affect your sleep -- use an eye mask if you need to.
Test Your Pillows -- Really
Cederberg suggests spending a day testing out different types of pillows, like feather or foam ones, to see which one is the best fit for you. You should never test a pillow if you're tired though -- you may just like everything in the store.
Exercising isn't only good for your health, it can give you energy throughout the day. Challenging your body will also help you rest better, Ceberberg says.
Keep Your Bedroom Clean
Make sure your room is tidy before you sleep. Switch up your linens once every two weeks, keep your room dust free and Cederberg recommends adjusting the temperature to 18 degrees Celsius for the best zZZ environment.
Block Out Noise
If you live in the city, the sounds of cars and buses may be your morning wake up call (or the annoyances keeping you up at night). Cederberg suggests using ear plugs to block out unwanted noise.
Put Your Phone Away
Another distraction before sleeping is playing with your phone or answering texts. Put your phone in another room to help fall asleep with a clear mind and not worry about a meeting the next day.
Say No To Heavy Meals
Midnight snack cravings? Try to say no. Eating heavy foods right before bed will make it harder for your body to digest and make you tired the next morning.
Find A Good Mattress
Even though pillows ensure a good night's rest -- a good mattress is just as important.