Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to obesity
and high blood pressure, but new research from Harvard University
has found that getting the right amount of sleep could also lead to
weight loss.


The research revealed that those who get a good night's rest find
it easier to resist overeating, especially when it comes to
high-in-fat foods such as ice cream, cheeseburgers or chips. The
compelling amount of evidence around weight-related gains and sleep
is significantly altering the expression 'if you snooze you lose',
with the many sleep benefits making it more like 'if you snooze you
win'.


William Killgore, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard
Medical School said: "Daytime sleepiness was positively related to
greater hunger and elevated preference for high-calorie
foods."


MRI tests of study volunteers made it possible to identify exactly
why this was the case. They revealed that the sleepier a person
was, the less activity they had in the self-control part of the
brain known as the prefrontal cortex. That's the area "that puts
the brakes on and slows you down from doing things you shouldn't
do- like eating too much fattening, unhealthy food", Mr Killgore
explained.


Sleepy people are therefore more likely to have snacks before
bedtime or have deserts. This is particularly true in women,
according to the results, which showed that they are more inclined
than men to overeat and to prefer junk food when they get sleepy
during the day.


"People think they're so busy that, if they're going to chintz on
something, they're going to cut out some sleep. And that's one
thing they shouldn't do," said Mr Killgore. "It affects our ability
to control food intake."


If these patterns are repeated for 20 to 30 years, they can have a
big impact on our lifestyles. Many professionals and even young children are increasingly sacrificing
their night's sleep in order to get more work done or watch a late
night TV show. As more evidence emerges on the health effects of
such a lifestyle, it may be worth asking whether these endeavours
are worth the sacrifice.


Posted by Michael Ewing ADNFCR-1744-ID-801350430-ADNFCR