Sleep Your Way to Successful Weight Loss

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep. Similarly, more than a third of American adults are overweight or obese. These statistics are not surprising; however, the link between them is less obvious.

After just one week of sleep deprivation, people had worse metabolism for carbs, higher blood sugars and higher cortisol levels in one study. All of these changes cause insulin resistance and high insulin levels, which lead to obesity and type two diabetes.

Targeting insulin resistance and high insulin levels makes for effective weight control, and sleep  is an important part.

Recommendations

  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep/night
  • If you are sick or recovering from sleep debt, sleeping more than 9 hours/night may help
  • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime
  • Exercise during the day
  • Avoid foods that cause indigestion near bedtime (ex: spicy food, citrus, fatty/fried foods, carbonated drinks)
  • Expose yourself to natural light during the day
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Sleep in the dark, the following can help:
      • Sleep mask : I highly recommend this one!
    • Black out curtains
    • Turn off the TV, cell phones, lamps, night lights
  • Optimize your sleep environment with:
    • Comfortable bed and pillows
    • Cool bedroom (60-67 degrees Fahrenheit)
    • Earplugs

Shaping metabolism starts young (probably even in utero), so make sure your kids have good sleep habits, too. They need even more sleep than adults.

  • Infants 4-12 months: 12- 16 hours per 24 hours
  • Children 1-2 years: 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)
  • Children 6-12 years: 9-12 hours per 24 hours
  • Teens 13-18 years: 8-10 hours per 24 hours

“CDC Newsroom.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html.

Paruthi, Shalini, et al. “Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, vol. 12, no. 06, 2016, pp. 785–786., doi:10.5664/jcsm.5866.

“Sleep Hygiene.” National Sleep Foundation, sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-hygiene.

Spiegel, Karine, et al. “Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function.” The Lancet, vol. 354, no. 9188, 1999, pp. 1435–1439., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(99)01376-8.

Watson, Nathaniel F., et al. “Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: Methodology and Discussion.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2015, doi:10.5664/jcsm.4950.Consensus Conference Panel: Nathaniel F.