• The Slim Habit

Weight loss and sleep. Does lack of sleep make you fat?


On average we are all getting two hours less sleep every night than we did 50 years ago. A lot has happened in 50 years. What has been the one major factor that has caused this change in our sleeping habits? Well actually, there are two – and they’re related. The first is television and the second is the computer.

We watch television until quite late at night. Television viewing eats into our sleep time. Our computers drag us into their magnetic clutches and we find it hard to put them to sleep.

Sleep is even more important today because we live such busy frenetic lives. We need rest. We need to let our bodies have time to recover, to do essential repairs and maintenance. If we try and live on less sleep we become exhausted and stressed.

Stress is a major cause of weight gain. Prolonged stress can be a killer. What stress does is to release a hormone cortisol. Prolonged cortisone secretion makes us feel hungry, hungry for sweet carbohydrates, the food that gives us instant energy, the food that makes us put on weight.

When we appear at the breakfast table after a night of broken or little sleep, our first reaction is to head for the sugary cereal and the fruit juice – which is essentially sugar. Why? Because our body considers lack of sleep as an energy deficiency and wants to make up that ‘deficiency’ as quickly as possible. The consequence of not getting enough sleep is plain to see – we put on weight because we eat the food that causes us to put on weight.

We need between 7 and 7 ½ hours sleep every night. Get into the habit of getting a good night’s sleep and you’ll be less prone to putting on weight, you’ll feel so much better and have so much more energy.


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