The Sleep Diet? Logical � but not a diet.
Read through the sleep diet. It is logical, but it is not a diet.
I like the idea of logging your sleep patterns and times. It fits in well with counting your activity and your calories. Getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as eating and exercising is a lifestyle choice.
Here is an article straight from the Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday September 19, 2009.
OTTAWA -- The Sleep Diet is possibly the world's most effortless and effective diet, simpler than author Michael Pollen's pared-down manifesto to "Eat food. Not much. Mostly plants" and far easier to swallow than the Grapefruit Diet.
Sleep Diet Details
Set your bedtime. First, calculate how much sleep you need by working out when you need to get up, and counting back 7.5 hours.Then every day, go to bed 15 minutes earlier -- most people need between 7.5 and nine hours of sleep -- until you notice you're waking up refreshed and without the help of an alarm clock.At that point, you've found the optimum number of sleep hours for you.
Keep a sleep journal. Track when you go to bed, when you awaken, any restless periods and when you ate or exercised before retiring. Also, avoid napping during the day for more 30 minutes."Do not be one of those people who allows bedtime and awakening time to drift," warn researchers at the University of Maryland. "The body gets used to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed."
Other tips: Dr. Helen Driver advises getting at least a half an hour of exercise during the day -- but not within a few hours of bedtime -- keeping the bedroom solely for sleep or sex and developing a pre-sleep routine that could include a bath, music or reading.Get into a regular routine for going to bed. Cut out caffeine in the afternoon, and don't go to bed too hungry or too full. Alcohol should be in moderation and never as a sleep aid."-- Canwest News Service
Go to bed. Sleep for eight hours.
The Sleep Diet sounds simple, so simple that six staff members at Glamour magazine gave the sleep diet a go and, in the February edition, revealed they lost an average of four kilograms each without changing anything else -- how much they exercised, or how much or what they ate.
And a compelling body of research increasingly shows that, scientifically speaking, sleep as a diet aid works.
In fact, the connection between sleep, diet, stress and Canada's burgeoning weight problem -- 11.3 million obese or overweight and counting, says Statistics Canada -- has become a focal point for sleep researchers internationally, especially after 2004 when scientists at Stanford University in California connected lack of sleep to the alarming rise in obesity in Western countries.
In their 15-year study of 1,024 volunteers with sleep disorders, they found those getting less than four hours of sleep a night were 73 per cent more likely to be obese.
While our high-fat, high-sodium, high-everything diet certainly has much to do with our national pudginess, Dr. Helen Driver, an adjunct professor of medicine at Queen's University and president of the Canadian Sleep Society, also puts the blame on sleep-killing technology.
"Edison has a lot to answer for when he invented the light bulb, because everyone started spending less time asleep," she says. "It's a technology issue; people have computers and TVs in their bedrooms, they eat or read e-mail before they go to bed. The result is they don't get a restful sleep. But I would say that if you're sleep-deprived and you follow good sleep hygiene, you will lose weight without changing much else."
How does the Sleep Diet work?
A lack of sleep triggers a wave of reactions in the human body that starts with the hormones leptin, ghrelin and cortisol and ends with waking up exhausted and craving fat and carbohydrates, says Dr. Joseph De Koninck, director of the University of Ottawa's Sleep Research Laboratory.
"There is no question that the hormones that control appetite are affected by the loss of sleep," De Koninck says. And it's worse if you eat just before bed, he adds.
"People stay up late watching TV, they're on the Internet and e-mail, they get hungry and eat something high-calorie. If you eat, your sleep is more fragmented because your body is digesting."
The lack of deep, restorative rest also causes a drop in the satiety hormone leptin, which means that even after you do eat the next day, you won't feel full.
Meanwhile, the hunger hormone ghrelin rises, setting the stage for overeating.
The third hormone cortisol is strongly related to the body's daily, or circadian, rhythm, "and it's involved with metabolic regulation," explains Driver. "So stress and lack of sleep are intertwined, too."
In fact, for the busy Glamour testers -- most of them are mothers -- the hardest part of the Sleep Diet was going to bed at the same time every night.
The trouble is we're just not getting enough 40 winks in the first place.
Researchers at the University of Chicago also studied the sleep patterns of 669 middle-aged adult volunteers in 2006, and found that while we may bed down an average 7.5 hours a night, women actually sleep for just 6.7 of them, while men get 6.1 hours.
"The average number of hours actually spent asleep has been reduced," says Driver."
It should be up to eight hours, but it's not and it's having a negative effect."
But by learning new sleep habits -- and getting any sleep disorders addressed -- "You will lose weight if you get the proper amount of sleep," says De Koninck. "Your hormones will be positively affected and you will not overeat."
-- Canwest News Service
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 19, 2009 C18
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