The Secret to Slimming Down for Summer: Get Your Zzzs!

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Friday, May 9, 2008

The National Sleep Foundation Offers Tips for “Sleeping into a Slimmer Summer”

WASHINGTON, DC, May 6, 2008 – For millions of Americans, shedding unwanted pounds is a top priority, especially as the summer swimsuit season approaches. That's why the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is reminding Americans that spending more time between the sheets may be the secret to slimming down and looking great on the beach or by the pool.

People tend to forego sleep in order to make time for a work-out or other daily activities and it is often overlooked as an important factor in the battle of the bulge. “Many do not realize that skimping on sleep can actually make it harder to lose weight,” says Meir H. Kryger, MD, Chairman of NSF's Board of Directors. “Research suggests that even a modest amount of sleep deprivation can increase appetite by altering the behavior of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which are responsible for regulating metabolism. As a result of sleep loss, people may experience stronger cravings for carbohydrates and calorie-rich comfort foods such as cookies and chips, which can lead to weight gain.”

Recent research suggests that people who sleep less may also produce more insulin, which puts them at higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes and obesity are both on the rise in the U.S., causing many Americans to suffer serious health complications. In order to help fight these conditions and promote healthy lifestyles for all Americans, NSF is sending a wake up call to remind people that sleep is as important as diet and exercise … only easier! "Healthy sleep is a part of an antidote for the obesity and diabetes epidemics in America," says Kryger.

In addition to mounting scientific evidence, the results of NSF's 2008 Sleep in America poll, released in early March 2008, suggests that sleep loss and obesity are linked. According to the poll, people who are overweight/obese are more likely than people of normal weight to spend less time in bed on workdays (6.82 hours vs. 7.12 hours) and to sleep less than 6 hours per night (17%