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Sleep More, Weigh Less

A new study finds that people who are sleep deprived eat more

Barbara Kantrowitz, Health Goes Strong, Mar 16, 2012

Want to lose weight without starving yourself and spending all day at the gym? A new study suggests that all you might have to do is spend more time in bed.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that sleep-deprived people ate an extra 549 calories a day, which could cause you to gain up to a pound a week. Multiply that over a year and you can see how it adds up.

The study confirms others that have found a connection between inadequate rest and weight gain in both adults and children.

How much rest is enough? You may think that you can get by on just a few hours a night, but the research suggests otherwise. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep a night but the 17 participants in this week-long study averaged between five and six hours a night.

The researchers don't know what causes the extra eating. There may be a connection between fatigue and the hormones that regulate appetite although it's unclear how being tired actually affects these hormone levels.

But the study does point out the importance of getting enough sleep, not just to control weight gain but for many other health reasons.

If you're having trouble sleeping, take the problem seriously. Popping a sleeping pill is not a long-term solution. Sleep problems can be symptoms of many diseases - both physical and emotional. Talk to your doctor about your sleep issues and if necessary, ask for a referral to a sleep medicine specialist.

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