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Sleep More To Lose More Weight

Researchers from the University of Chicago found that if you sleep more you improve your ability to lose fat.

They studied ten people. They put them on a diet that provided 90% of the calories that they burned at rest. The amount of calories you burn at rest is known as the "basal metabolic rate." This is what your body consumes just performing the normal processes that are required at rest.

In one two week period they got to sleep more, with 8 1/2 hours each night for sleep. Then in a different two week period they got only 5 1/2 hours each night for sleep.

Cutting back on sleep reduces the benefits of dieting, according to a study published October 5, 2010, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

When dieters in the study got a full night's sleep, they lost the same amount of weight as when they slept less.

Now, the study has a very interesting result. The weight loss was the same whether the person got enough sleep or not. So this might lead you to believe that the amount of sleep didn't matter.

But that would be wrong. The amount of sleep made a big difference in how much body fat was lost.

When dieters got adequate sleep, however, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. When they cut back on their sleep, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat.

You might wonder whether this is a significant difference or not. After all, when you're overweight all that matters is that the weight comes off, right?

But it's not so simple. When you lose body fat you are left with lean mass. You look better and you feel better. You have more energy. Your metabolism is more efficient and you have an easier time to continue to lose weight.

But if you lose lean tissue it cripples your metabolism. You end up fatigued and sluggish.

So, when they didn't get enough sleep they lost lean body weight rather than fat. But there were other changes too.

They also felt hungrier. When sleep was restricted, dieters produced higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure.

Well, increased hunger and decreased energy are the last things you want when you are trying to lose weight. It's difficult enough to lose weight under the best of circumstances. And then when your hormones are working against you, making you hungry and tired, it becomes impossible.

"If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels," said study director Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that is ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study it reduced fat loss by 55 percent."

The actual numbers in the study were pretty dramatic.

The volunteers lost an average of 6.6 pounds during each 14-day session. During weeks with adequate sleep, they lost 3.1 pounds of fat and 3.3 pounds of fat-free body mass, mostly protein. During the short-sleep weeks, participants lost an average of 1.3 pounds of fat and 5.3 pounds of fat-free mass.

Now, take a look at that. When they didn't get enough sleep they lost 1.3 pounds of fat. But they lost 5.3 pounds of lean tissue. That's just weight loss suicide.

There's only one conclusion. We know that life can be hectic. It's hard to find time for everything. But if you stay overweight you develop health problems and you don't live as long.

If you can reorganize things so you sleep more and get enough time in bed to fully recuperate each day, you can allow your body to regain it's ability to burn fat. That will make it much easier for you to reach your weight loss goal.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

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  • Clearwater, FL 33761
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