Sleep on it and prevent weight gain

Almost all students go through a health fad at some point in their collegiate tenure.

I’ve been an active gym rat since my junior year of high school, and I’ve tried too many fitness fads to count.

I pitched the idea of health tips in The Collegian, which snowballed into this health column.

The column’s goal is simple: explore interesting health facts college students can apply to their everyday lives.

With midterms around the corner, the subject of sleep, or lack thereof, seems an appropriate topic for the first Collegian health column.

Sleep on It
Sleeping more to lose weight may sound too good to be true, but recent studies from the University of Chicago and Stanford University  support the notion that beauty sleep can help you stay slim.

Researchers examined the effects of sleep deprivation in relation to hormone levels and found that two hormones in particular—leptin and ghrelin—affect your appetite when you’re tired.

The hormones work as a tag-team to control appetite. When you’re hungry the body sends ghrelin to the brain saying it’s time to chow down.

Conversely, leptin is the hormone that says you’re full. Researchers found that patients who got less than six hours of sleep a night had increased levels of ghrelin and decreased levels of leptin.

Remember that all-nighter hangover where you just couldn’t stop eating the next day? It was probably because your leptin and ghrelin were unbalanced.

Combine enough of these late -night Taco Bell runs, and you may look down to see the freshman 15 staring right back at you.

But the snooze news doesn’t stop there. The sleep data that researchers uncovered is twofold: the quality of sleep is just as important as how much shuteye you’re getting every night.

Patients who were unable to get a good night’s sleep, like those with sleep apnea, still had unequal levels of ghrelin and leptin the next day, even though they were sleeping eight hours a night.

Bottom line: eight hours of deep sleep, not an afternoon catnap, is needed to sleep the flab off.

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