Get More Zzzz’s to Lose More Lbs.


We live with all kinds of distractions tempting us to stay up late.  Television, internet, smart phones…..artificial light itself makes it easy to miss an early bedtime!  We should all be getting around eight hours of sleep each night, but too few of us do on a regular basis and, if you’re trying to lose weight, that can really work against you.

The links between lack of sleep and weight management are pretty strong.  Consistently getting less sleep tends to alter important hormones that affect appetite, especially when following a restricted calorie diet.  So, you sleep less and feel hungrier…you eat more, or eat something you’d rather not eat…you don’t lose weight…you get discouraged and, with great exasperation, end up eating an entire order of General Gau’s chicken with fried rice.  Okay, that last bit was clearly facetious, but you can see the potential downward spiral.  All that can be avoided simply by going to bed earlier and getting a good night’s sleep!

To make matters worse, there’s also some evidence that lack of sleep changes the type of weight people lose when on a diet (lean vs. fat).  Sleep deprived individuals tend to lose more lean (muscle) weight than fat weight compared to those who are well rested, which is extraordinarily bad.  It can also lead to altered glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and increased risk of diabetes.  That’s to say nothing about energy level, attention and cognition, etc.

So…..turn off the TV, shut down the computer, turn off the lights and go to sleep!

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Michael Bento is an Advanced Trainer at the Clubs at Charles River Park. He holds a Masters degree in Human Movement and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist.

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