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Sleep Disturbances May Contribute to Obesity

By Editor, May 9, 2012  

The Science Daily reported on findings of a study that links a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep to obesity. The opinions drawn from the research may be found in a paper printed in the American Journal of Human Biology and that paper states that the research demonstrates a correlation between a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep to adverse effects in an individuals appetite regulation, glucose metabolism and blood pressure. These findings may be significant in helping those attempting to lose weight.

Dr. Kristen Knutson, working at the University of Chicago, presented the findings of the study and concluded that there is evidence of an increased risk of obesity linked to poor quality sleep or inadequate sleep. Dr. Knutson's experiments restricted duration of sleep as well as sleep quality in test subjects and then measured the levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin in the blood. Ghrelin regulates appetite and the higher levels of ghrelin the more an individual wants to eat. Leptin regulates the satiation signal sent to the brain. The higher the leptin levels the more satisfied is one's appetite.

 

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The test subjects getting fewer that 6 hours of sleep or experiencing low quality sleep had higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin. This state of hormonal imbalance leads to over consumption of food and the resulting obesity. The study also revealed that children, adolescents, and the poor are more susceptible to over consumption as a result of hormonal imbalances. Most of the studies conducted by Dr. Knutson involved western countries, but similar studies conducted by other researchers in Brazil, Samoa and the United Arab Emirates have revealed similar findings.

Clearly, in combating obesity a multipronged approach is necessary. A diet, not only low enough in calories to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, but one that is rich in nutrients and low in salt, sugar, processed foods and saturated fats is essential. Adequate physical activity is essential. Weight bearing exercise and aerobic activities performed with consistency are key components. Stress reduction, healthy personal relationships, and taking time for enjoyable activities are also essential aspects to a healthy weight and a healthy life. Now, through the findings presented by Dr. Knutson and others, we know that both adequate and sound quality sleep are critical components in helping one to lose weight and combate obesity.

 

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