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Sleep Away Those Kilos
Jul 2014
Sheela. M

We have always believed that sleep increased our weight. But how many of us know that sleep sheds kilos too? Isn’t it fantastic to know that sleep too could be helpful in weight reduction?

Study and ongoing research show that sleep deprived people or those with less than four hours of sleep tend to eat more carbs than those who have rested well. And the choice of food for them was most likely to be sweets or candy or cookies and very less of fruit or vegetables, upon waking up. It was also seen that in these people the ability to process glucose (sugar) in the blood is reduced to almost the level of diabetics!

The cycle that ensues is → the less sleep one gets → the more cravings one has for sweet food → leading to consumption of more calories → in turn more belly fat → leading to higher body mass index (BMI).

What happens when a person sleeps less?

The answer lies in two of our hormones, leptin and ghrelin. They are regulated by sleep and also influence our appetite. Leptin is a regulator that tells the brain when we are full while ghrelin indicates when we are hungry. When researchers measured the levels of ghrelin in those who had slept four hours or less, they found that the levels had increased to almost 71 per cent, compared to when the same set of people had 10 hours of sleep. During their four hour sleep duration study, they craved and hungered for simple carbs, upon waking up. It was their ghrelin or the hunger hormone that played truant.