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Sleep Deprivation and Obesity

If naps are your favorite thing, you may be in better health than any others in America. Sleep is an important health factor in anyone’s life, but a recent study indicates that a lack of sleep makes losing weight more difficult and actually promotes weight gain. The Canadian study reviewed 18 studies on regular sleep deprivation, spanning over the course of 15 years. Sleep deprivation, in this case, was considered as 6 hours or less a night. Partial sleep deprivation was also included in the study. The disorder is caused by both lifestyle factors such as work-related stress, prolonged light exposure, or extended exposure to either TV or computers and chronic health conditions including sleep apnea or insomnia. The study revealed that nearly 60% of men and 44% of women endured increased health risks based on excess weight gain. Researchers find the correlation interesting and noticed that levels of the body’s hormone that indicates that we are hungry rose, while the hormone that tells us we are full and encouraging weight loss dropped. These changes in hormones essentially encourage us to eat more and more often. The study also found that the stress-related hormone, cortisol, was heavily present during the later part of the day when it should be tapering off, in preparing the body for rest. While the study was done in Canada, the results do affect Americans as 28% of the population reports suffering some form of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is generally characterized as getting 6 or less hours of sleep per night, waking disturbances can also add up to decreased sleeping hours. Our country is accruing enormous healthcare costs in regards to obesity and diabetes. Much of our population works shift work or multiple jobs in order to make ends meet for their families. While the health integrity of our food is a growing concern, seeking more information on the correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain could to lead to positive results for our country’s health. Sources: Huffington Post - Scientific American - Medical Daily -
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