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Researchers Link Larger Waistlines to Less Sleep

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us know we should be getting 7-9 hours sleep every night, but now there is another reason to make it happen. New research studies show lack of sleep links to bigger waistlines and higher body mass indexes (BMI).

Looking at the Results

Researchers studied 1,600 people and found those who slept six hours or less per night had waistlines that were 1.18 inches larger than people who slept nine hours. The reduced sleep group also had more bad cholesterol and a higher BMI.

We should note the study did not make correlations to a bad diet, and the study did not give results over time, which might give us a better overall picture. This study might be seen as a glimpse of the problem, rather than the final word.

As one of the people who does not always hit the 8- to 9-hour sleep mark, and could use a waistline tuck, I believe the study may be on the right track.

Late Night Habits

The researchers also suggest less sleep can affect normal routines, creating more late night snacking. They say it Impacts hormones that control appetite and trigger late night eating.

Overall, the research checks out. If I follow my best sleep schedule, I am asleep around 11 p.m., with no late snacks. I get about eight hours of sleep. If I stay up later, I find myself succumbing to the urge to whip up nachos. I have also found my electronics add fuel to the fire as I watch a favorite late night show or check my email and become involved with daily issues.  I may be wide awake and much more likely to snack, and stay up even later.

See how your sleep routines and weight correlate. If you see links, you may want to work on some new sleep habits.

How to Get 8 to 9 Hours' Sleep

Don’t make sleep a big production, but do approach it differently.

  • Set the same bedtime for every night, including weekends
  • Cut off caffeine early in the afternoon. Caffeine can stay in the system for 12 hours
  • Limit wine and beer at dinner. Alcohol can disrupt sleep
  • Avoid daytime naps, or hold them to 20 or 30 minutes
  • Create a sleep haven, using air filters to create a cool, quiet zone. Use blackout drapes, and leave electronics outside, including the TV, laptop and phone
  • Develop a relaxing routine before bedtime with a warm bath or good book. If you have issues. work them out in the daytime and let them go at night

There are sure to be more studies on the key topics of sleep and weight. Stay tuned and make the best choices for your health.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Missouri City, Tex.

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