How quality sleep can boost your health

How quality sleep can boost your health

Some experts are saying getting 7.5 hours of good sleep each night can help you avoid gaining extra weight and lose weight over time. The key is that you are sleeping well, researchers say.

One expert, John M. Jakicic of the University of Pittsburgh’s Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, said in a statement to CNN, that people who aren’t sleeping enough are at risk for gaining excess pounds.

“When you have poor sleep or lack of sleep, you’re setting a whole cascade of events in motion hormonally that could set you up for weight gain,” he said in the article.

One study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concurs with Jakicic, finding that people who are not getting enough sleep are more likely to eat since their body needs that energy to keep from falling asleep. It also found that those “sleepy eaters” oftentimes tend eat more than the average non-sleepy person, resulting in the weight gain.

“What is important to remember is that not only is it important to sleep 7-8 hours a night, it is also extremely important to keep the same sleep schedule,” says Dr. David Koh, pulmonologist and sleep medicine expert with Advocate Medical Group in Normal, Illinois.

Dr. Koh says that most of our body hormones work in a circadian rhythm.

“What that means is that certain hormones, body temperature and ability to stay asleep or awake work on a 24-hour clock,” he says. “The more you mess with the circadian rhythm, the less efficiently the body works.”

Dr. Koh says the biggest culprit to this is from people who sleep in on weekends.

“Just sleeping in for two hours extra can mess up this circadian rhythm,” he says. “By doing this on weekends, you are in perpetual jet lag.”

Dr. Koh adds that adequate sleep is closely tied to our immune status. “The less sleep you get, the less effective your immune system,” he says.

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  1. Great information. I wonder if a long-term study should be conducted on individuals in the workforce that work rotating shifts like those in healthcare and public safety. I wonder how their erratic sleep schedule impacts their long-term health.

  2. antoinette charak May 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm · Reply

    Interesting article. yes I would like to see the stat on off shift workers as well.

  3. I didn’t know sleeping in on the weekends even for an extra hour or two can mess with your body that much. Good to know!

    • That is a big surprise to me too Lindsey! But sometimes I guess when I sleep in…I actually feel more tired later on so I guess it makes sense now!

  4. I’ll believe that health care professionals are taking this matter seriously (and mean *me* to take it seriously) just as soon as they stop asking interns and residents to work more than an 8-hour shift per day. Instead, they make interns and residents endure schdules that look more like fraternity hazing rituals. Seriously: physician, heal thy educational process first.

  5. I definitely notice when I don’t get enough sleep. You don’t want to know me if I haven’t slept enough!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.