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Will Sleep Make You Slim?

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Will Sleep Make You Slim?

By Kristin Ohlson, Experience Life

People have acknowledged the value of sleep for centuries. But they’ve focused primarily on sleep’s impact on brain function. “If you talk to some neuroscientists today, the prevailing view is still that sleep is only for the brain,” says Eve Van Cauter, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and an expert on the ways sleep affects endocrine function.

Over the last few decades, sleep researchers across the country have been overturning that view. Their studies indicate that curtailing sleep and getting poor-quality sleep are implicated in many diseases that affect the entire body, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer and impaired immune function.

One of the most startling observations has come from Van Cauter and her University of Chicago colleagues. Over the course of four studies, they showed that people who don’t sleep enough, night after night, unwittingly trigger a hormonal storm that causes their appetites to rise.

5 Foods That Sabotage Your Sleep

Other researchers followed up with studies and found the implications of Van Cauter’s work borne out in real life: People who sleep fewer hours tend to become overweight or even obese. Even a difference of one hour is significant. Columbia University researchers, for instance, found that people between the ages of 32 and 59 who slept only four hours were 73 percent more likely to become obese than those sleeping seven to nine hours. Even a difference of two hours was significant. Those who slept only six hours were 23 percent more likely to become obese than those sleeping seven hours.

Does this mean we can shed pounds by getting additional shuteye? Maybe, but research hasn’t yet proven this supposition — the studies looking at whether overweight people shed pounds when they sleep more are just getting under way. Still, it’s clear that insufficient sleep encourages weight gain and that getting adequate sleep helps prevent it.

Next: Why sleepiness causes you to eat more

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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6:50AM PDT on May 2, 2011

Interesting! It doesn't work for me.

4:08PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Oh yeah, if you get the chance of 20 hours sleep!

12:36AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

it like saying what will my bones be like in my grave .

5:18PM PST on Feb 9, 2011

"if you stay in bed all the time and dont get up to eat then it will make one slim."

LOL, I wish! My living conditions are such that the ONLY place for me to sit is in bed. And since I haven't found a job yet, I spend 24 hours a day in bed, except to get up to scrounge around for something to eat, which I eat in bed, and do my hygenic things.

I never over eat, and I eat 99% raw organic foods. But I've GAINED weight.

I get plenty of bed-rest, but not nearly enough sleep. This article is quite interesting.

1:49AM PST on Feb 8, 2011

Insightful article-it makes one contemplate about the effects that sleep has on a human being. It also makes one think, and wonder about sleeping at different times.

4:48PM PST on Feb 7, 2011

Now, sleeping I can stick to, LOL.

12:13AM PST on Feb 7, 2011

if you stay in bed all the time and dont get up to eat then it will make one slim

10:52AM PST on Feb 5, 2011

I had high hopes for this topic, I thought I would be shedding pounds in the matter of days! Lol.

Thanks for posting.

8:16AM PST on Feb 5, 2011

Thanks for the article. I think I will head back to bed now! :-)

8:37AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Actually the circadian clock is controlled by the superior colliculus in the brain. Although information is transmitted via the eye there is evidence that those cells work even if you are blind. If you remain in the dark you will still have a circadian clock but it will fall out by a few minutes each hour. However, I suspect the people in the Arctic circle have adapted to this so their body clock functions normally without the need for daylight daily but I have not seen the studies about this.

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