Saturday 23 February 2013

Beat obesity with better sleep

Sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of obesity and overweight. Several studies show that people sleep less than eight hours a day have more chances of putting on weight. So, having a better sleep is a way of beating obesity and overweight.

The relationship between sleep and obesity: 

Many population studies show that lack of sleep is associated with increased weight gain. This finding is supported by laboratory researches. Scientists found that inadequate sleep causes an imbalance between two hormones in the body. These hormones play an important role in regulating our appetite. Lack of sleep result in high levels of hormone called ghrelin. This hormone stimulates appetite and makes us to eat more food. In addition, sleep deprivation lowers the levels of appetite-suppressing hormone leptin.

Obese people tend to have obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, breathing stops for many seconds, hundreds of times during sleep. This leads to frequent waking at night and poor quality sleep. This in turn can cause weight gain. This is a vicious cycle relationship between lack of sleep and obesity.

Tips to have good sleep at night
  • Make your bedroom suitable for sleeping. Don't use it for other purposes such as studying or watching TV. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark. Keep the room temperature at a comfortable level.
  • Don't keep any electronic gadgets in the bedroom such as mobile phone, iPod, and computer.
  • Eliminate the noise sources such as tick tick clock. Using white noise is helpful. Some people use ear plugs to block external noise.
  • Don't watch television programs just before bed. They are stimulating and they will spoil your night sleep.
  • Listen to a light music before bed.
  • Don't drink caffeine containing drinks in the afternoon or evening. Coffee, tea, coke, and energy drinks contain large amounts of caffeine.
  • Drink a cup of warm milk before bed. 
  • Avoid eating large meals at night. Have your dinner at least two hours before the bedtime.
  • Eat fruits and carbohydrate containing foods for dinner. Avoid high protein and high-fat diet at night.
  • Do enough exercise in day times but not in the late evening.
  • Take a warm shower before bed.
  • Try to have a good sleeping routine. This is an important part of sleep hygiene. Have a fixed bedtime and waking time. Sleeping between 11 pm to 7 am is best. Avoid daytime napping.
  • Sleep at least eight hours a day to maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you have excessive snoring, blocked nose or sleep apnea, consult your doctor.