Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The sleep diet

On the Today's show for this past Monday, they had segment based on the recent Glamour Magazine article about the so called "sleep diet". While research has linked weight gain with lack sleep, can you really lose weight by just by sleeping? To test this theory, sleep and medical experts Micheal Breus, Ph.D and Steven Lamm, M.D developed a plan for seven Glamor readers of different weights. All the women had just one goal, get at least seven and a half hours of sleep at night without making any significant changes to their diet or exercise plans. At the end of the seven weeks, six of the women had lost six or more pounds.
So why is this? Well, the more tired you are the more prone you are to eat more. "When women are deprived of sleep, they have an increase in ghrelin--what we call the 'go' hormone--because it makes you want to go eat more," Breus said. Also, when you sleep more your body is able to break down fat for fuel because your brain is able to secrete a larger amount of growth hormone. Finally, the more sleep you get the more energy you'll have which in turn makes it easier for you to want to exercise.
Ready to start? Here's the four steps the Glamour magazine volunteer's followed:
1. Go to sleep at the same time every day
2. Have a bed time routine
3. Watch your caffeine and alcohol consumption
4. Experiment to figure out how sleep you really need

The sleep diet does makes a lot of sense to me. If you're tired all the time, you don't have the energy to exercise nor do you want to put the effort into making healthy eating choices. Although, I'm not too sure this is the be all, end all solution to weight loss. The sleep diet does not address the importance healthy eating. Instead they seem to emphasize that "more sleep, store less fat", as well "more sleep, eat less". I'm concerned that people may see this as way to eat whatever junk they want and just burn it off by sleeping a lot, which clearly will not work. Or that will just eat less of unhealthy foods without adding in important nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, protein, etc. I would like to see a more depth study following these seven women for a longer amount of time, maybe a year or so, to see how well they actually stuck to getting at least seven and half hours of sleep and if they still continued to lose weight.


Anonymous said...

It was a great idea to add the video. It really gave your blog post something extra.

Tam said...

Awesome idea to have a video. College students do not get enough sleep or eat as healthy as we should, so many can relate. Great topic and story idea.

jatwater said...

Good job with this post, Rachel.