If you said sleep, you're not alone. In a study released by the Better Sleep Council, 80% of women would opt for the zzzs.
Sleeping is perceived as a luxury for many people, whose lives are packed fuller than vacation luggage.
As Dr. Andrew Calvin of the Mayo Clinic told attendees at an American Heart Association conference, "Sleep deprivation is a growing problem, with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night."
If you're trying to lose weight, lack of sleep could be sabotaging your efforts. Instead of counting calories, carbs, points -- or even squats -- consider counting how many hours of sleep you are getting.
The more hours you are awake, the more time you have to eat. It is difficult to consume calories while you are sleeping unless you attach a Kool-Aid IV to your arm at bedside.
|Can't sleep? Medifast will be releasing |
sleep aid products later this year
The more sleep deprived you are, the more like you will be tempted to make bad food choices. Columbia University researchers attached two groups to MRIs and found the group who slept less had more activity in the reward centers in their brain when they saw pictures of unhealthy food.
Sleep is also linked to two hormones -- ghrelin and leptin -- that regulate eating. Ghrelin stimulates appetite. Leptin helps you feel satisfied after eating. Lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to go up and leptin levels to go down. Which means if you only get four hours of sleep, you're more likely to feel hungry and less likely to experience satiety from food. In a preliminary study comparing two groups of people -- one getting sufficient sleep, the other less than their normal amount -- the latter group consumed an average of 549 more calories than the snoozers.
So the next time your smug co-worker brags about setting the alarm for 4 a.m. to get an hour in at the gym, don't feel so guilty for "wasting" that time in bed. Aside from its many health benefits, sleeping helps regulate your appetite and may even help you make better food choices.
Of course, if you're a new parent, good luck!
You can purchase Medifast replacement meals directly from Medifast Centers, the Medifast website or -- for no extra cost -- through the co-branded website of a Medifast TSFL health coach. Medifast does not recommend purchasing its products from third party vendors, but if you choose to do so, you can find them on both Amazon and eBay.
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