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New Study Shows Connection Between Sleep and Weight Control

If tossing and turning at night has become more the norm, it can have an effect on many areas of your life. Not getting enough sleep has a whole list of negative effects, and a recent study shows it can even have an effect on eating habits.

The consequences of not getting enough sleep go beyond being tired the next day. It can effect judgment, and mood, which often puts a strain on relationships. It also inhibits the ability to learn and retain information, causing many people to perform below their ability at work and school. It can also cause drowsiness which has been shown to increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality. But now there’s one other thing that is connected to sleep deprivation, and that is overeating.

Researchers at the University of Chicago invited 14 people in their 20’s to spend 4 nights in their sleep research center. Lights, sound, and other factors were carefully controlled. Some participants were allowed to sleep for 8.5 hours, while others were woken up after 4.5 hours. Both groups were offered a meal at 3pm, with a variety of foods available. On average, everyone consumed 2,000 calories at this meal. But the group that slept less went on to consume another 1,000 calories later in the evening, and their choices were typically unhealthy foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.

Researchers looked at a brain chemical called endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG for short). 2-AG plays a part in appetite, and they know that a person’s level is low overnight, and slowly rises during the day, usually peaking during the afternoon. They found that the 2-AG level in the group that slept less continued to rise through the evening hours, explaining the urge to continue to snack through the rest of the day, despite the fact that they had already consumed a day’s worth of calories.

Researchers feel that this connection between sleep deprivation and over-eating is something to be concerned about. According to the CDC, 35% of people do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Pair this with the fact that two-third of adults are overweight or obese, and the results of the study make sense. For many people, not getting a restful night sleep is contributing to their poor eating habits, which, in turn, is resulting in an unhealthy weight. Being overweight or obese then leads to serious consequences such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, conditions which lead to a shorter life span.

There are many things a person can do to ensure a good night’s sleep. Having a regular routine, and going to sleep the same time each night often helps. Keeping the bedroom dark and quiet is also a good idea. Experts recommend keeping the bedroom a cooler temperature, and avoiding stimulating activities right before bed, such as watching television or spending time on the computer. Another major factor is your mattress.

If you find you’re having a hard time getting a full night’s rest on a regular basis, there’s a good chance your mattress is to blame. An older mattress probably doesn’t have the correct support to give you a good night’s sleep. And according to the study, that can lead to more than just being cranky the next day. It can cause you to eat more, and struggle with weight issues too.

If you think it might be time to buy a new mattress, contact us. Urban Mattress knows the importance of a good night’s sleep, and will help you find the perfect mattress for you.