A growing body of science is implicating sleep deprivation as a key, “non-food” environmental factor in the current obesity epidemic. The less we sleep, the more we eat and the more visceral fat (the deadly type) we accumulate. In a study conducted with 12 healthy young men, French researchers found that when study subjects got just 4 hours of sleep they ate 560 additional calories over the day than when they got the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation has been shown to rev up our appetite-promoting hormones and dampen our appetite-suppressing hormones.
In a second study, researchers identified a strong association between chronic sleep deprivation (5 hours or less a night) and the accumulation of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the abnormal, highly toxic fat that builds up around vital organs like the liver and heart.
For optimal health and body weight, strive for 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
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(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Online, March 31, 2010)
(Sleep, March 2010)