Why Snoozing is Important for Losing

Burning the midnight oil could be giving you the munchies the next day. A small study found that lack of sleep might trigger individuals to eat more. Twelve young men slept for only four hours on two consecutive nights. Then hormone levels and hunger ratings were recorded:
  • The hormone leptin, which alerts the brain that it is time to stop eating, was 18% lower.
  • The hormone ghrelin, which triggers hunger, was 28% higher.
  • The men showed a 24% increase in assessing their "hunger rating" following the sleep restriction. The rise in obesity has occurred simultaneously with the decline in time spent sleeping. Currently only about 25% of young Americans get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. In 1960, 41% received 8 to 9 hours of sleep nightly.
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Additional studies are needed to confirm this initial study. However, consistently getting a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours) may be one of the answers to maintaining a healthy weight. This sensible recommendation may be one of the easier lifestyle changes to make. Too busy for that much sleep? Try getting to bed an hour earlier each night when you can. Maintaining the same bedtime (and alarm time) each day (including weekends!) can also stabilize your circadian rhythm.
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Member Comments

Thanks for sharing these great ideas! Report
Sleep is so important for my well-being. Report
There is so much repair and hormonal activity that takes place while you sleep, it is so important to get enough zzzz's. Report
Thanks. Report
Finally an article I can relate to! When I was in my teens I slept a lot. 12-14 hrs on a weekend wasn't unusual & I was th8n & very active. Over the years I first developed SAD which eventually was fixed w/ vitamin D & magnesium supplements. Work, stress, personal issues all became factors. Insomnia & the ability to go back to sleep once awake for a nighttime potty break wreaked havoc. Now I'm retired & sleep however late I want most days. Job stress is gone. Is it a coincidence I'm able to lose weight more readily? I think not - so related. Wish it could have come sooner. I still love my afternoon "power naps" every now & again. Never feel guilty about them. 🐨 Report
There is a renewed interest in the divided sleeping pattern, which was prevalent in Western Cultures prior to the Industrial Revolution since history was recorded, and is still found in various cultures and sub-cultures around the globe. For those interested in facts, NIH is one place to find evidence and studies regarding divided sleep.

For those who discount Science just because? Who cares what you think? Report
I’d like to see the results of a much bigger study. Report
Sleeping is more difficult now as it still is hot. Report
Still unable to locate info on how snoozing effects females and weight loss but I'll keep looking. Report
After working the night shift for mega yrs., I am not able to turn around totally sleeping through the night. I take a prescription med to get 4 hr.s good solid and deep sleep. Without it, I get about 2-3 hrs. total of light sleep. Still waiting for the biorhythm to rotate! Report
Wish I coud sleep the whole night through. Report
I never used to sleep well. I live in chronic pain. Sleep causes pain so I'd wake up hurting and still do.

BUT!! I maintain a regular bedtime and when I do wake up in pain, I just allow no thoughts of dread etc. I just get into a different position and turn on the 2 heating pads I sleep with (automatic shut off) sigh and I am BACK TO SLEEP!! The regular bedtime with a routine is so important. Report
Sweet, repairing sleep! Report
This has been very hard for me to do but I am working on it! Right now I am close to 7 hrs.

With all this warmer weather it is really messing with my sleep habits but I am also stretching myself way too thin. I'm gonna work hard.... Sleep smarter. Report


About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.