harmone-sleepStudies show that too little sleep may disrupt the balance of the hormones that regulate your hunger and appetite and increase the risk of weight gain.

Getting those zzzz’s has never been more important. And, if you are trying to shed unwanted pounds good sleep is crucial to your success. That’s right, it’s been proven that if you don’t get enough sleep, you may also eat too much — and thus be more likely to become obese. And, it’s all linked to your hormones!

“We tested whether lack of sleep altered the levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, increased the amount of food people ate, and affected energy burned through activity,” said Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., study author and professor of medicine and cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic. Leptin and ghrelin are associated with appetite.

In the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Minnesota Obesity Center and the Mayo Clinic, the researchers studied 17 normal, healthy young men and women for eight nights, with half of the participants sleeping normally and half sleeping only two-thirds their normal time. Participants ate as much as they wanted during the study.

Researchers found:

  • The sleep deprived group, who slept one hour and 20 minutes less than the control group each day consumed an average 549 additional calories each day.
  • The amount of energy used for activity did not significantly change between groups, suggesting that those who slept less did not burn additional calories.
  • Lack of sleep was associated with increased leptin levels and decreasing ghrelin — changes that were more likely a consequence, rather than a cause, of overeating.

“Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night,” said Andrew D. Calvin, M.D., M.P.H., co-investigator, cardiology fellow and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

The difference between a restless and a restful night has a lot to do with the quality and quality of your diet. When considering the best menu for sleep, keep in mind that the goal of eating is to provide the body with energy and that the time of day when energy is needed most is the morning. So remember, you should eat a nutritious breakfast and have no more than a light snack before bed in order to sleep well and feel your best each day and be well on your way to shedding that excess baggage in the belly, hips, waist and thighs and achieving balanced hormones.

Ready to get more sleep?

Visit http://www.ageology.com/  to reach an Ageology physician today and have a good night!

* American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions