Obesity has become one of the major health concerns in the US and the percentage of individuals who are overweight or obese continues to rise. In the last 25 years obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children.

At the same time that obesity rates have soared, sleep deprivation and insomnia rates have also escalated. Now researchers from Bristol University have found that the two are interconnected. The study of over 1000 volunteers found that those who slept for only 5 hours experienced changes in their metabolic hormones.

Ghrelin and leptin are two of the key hormones involved in regulating the appetite. Ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger while leptin suppresses the appetite. People who slept only 5 hours a night had 15% more ghrelin and 15% less leptin than those who slept for 8 hours.

Dr. Taheri concluded that “Individuals who spent less than 8 hours sleeping were shown to have a greater likelihood of being heavier. Good sleep, in combination with other lifestyle modifications may be important in fighting obesity.”

So what can you do to make sure that you get a good night’s sleep (and maintain a healthy weight)? Here are some tips:

Try to keep to the same schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.

Create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom. Make sure to have good ventilation.

Cut down or stop drinking tea, coffee or other caffeinated beverages in the evening. Instead drink a relaxing herbal tea such Bedtime tea with
chamomile and passion flower.

Don’t overindulge in alcohol – you may fall asleep quickly, but you will probably wake up in the night.

Don’t eat a large meal just before bedtime. Your body needs time to digest prior to sleep.

Being physically active during the day will help you to relax at night.

Spend some time relaxing before bed – read, write in your journal, meditate or cuddle with a loved one.

Mix some lavender essential oil with purified water and spritz your pillows and sheets before bed.

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