Less Zs Equals More LBs
New research published in Newsweek recently, confirmed that if you require an alarm clock to get up in the morning, you are more likely to be overweight. As a matter a fact, for every hour that you are sleep deprived, you suffer a 33% increase in obesity.
The studies that revealed this problem were performed at the University of Munich and Harvard Medical School. If you are sleep deprived for an hour or more, you are in very good company. The researcher from Munch found that two thirds of normal people fell into this category.
Shift workers, or those who word graveyard are at a greater disadvantage. Because they work all night but don’t want to miss out on all daytime activities, they tend to suffer much greater sleep deprivation that the typical daytime worker.
The research team from Harvard discovered that mimicking a graveyard schedule for just a few weeks created massive ill health effects and decreased metabolism to a point that the subjects would have gained 13 pounds in a year as a result of their sleep schedule.
Why do Poor Sleeping Habits Cause Weight Gain?
While these studies are an excellent corroboration of what many of us have said for years, they are not ‘new news’. There are certain stable data about the human body that cannot be fooled with without creating negative consequences on health.
Inadequate or interrupted sleep has always been known to create weight gain. Let’s look at how and why.
The adrenal glands (they make adrenaline) are majorly responsible for the metabolic rate or how fast and efficiently the body burns that calories that are consumed.
The adrenal glands prefer a stable waking and sleeping schedule. Getting fewer hours during the week and trying to catch up during the weekend creates stress for the adrenals.
When the adrenal glands are under stress many negative health effects ensue. Not the least of which is weight gain – also fatigue, mood swings, a weakened immune system, allergies, painful joints and tight muscles, etc.
The adrenal glands work in a close association with the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for helping to prevent disease such as cancer and infections, plus it is anti-aging and protective of memory and brain function. When the adrenal glands are stressed, melatonin production is affected negatively.
When the adrenal glands are under stress the body has unstable blood sugar and tends to crave the ‘wrong foods’. E.g. sugary, salty, refined carbohydrates. The exact foods that put weight on the body and move it towards the degenerative diseases that are killing Americans such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
What Can You Do to Prevent This? Follow These Tips
Here are some basic strategies that you can employ to take yourself out of this risk category.
• Ensure you are fully rested each and every day. Most of us don’t have the luxury of staying in bed until we wake up naturally. Work and family duties dictate that we arise at a certain time. The key is to naturally awaken at the time that you need to, without needing an alarm clock.
Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you awaken naturally at the time you need to get up. By the way parents, this is an excellent strategy for your children as well. Kids are not immune to this problem and they too should arise effortlessly at the time they need to wake up each day.
Utilize the strategy of putting them to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier until they arise when needed, bright eyed and bushy tailed! Don’t worry if this takes some time.
If you are requiring far more than 8 hours to awaken when you need to, understand that this is likely temporary as you handle a sleep deficit that has been building for many years.
• Keep a relatively stable schedule. Don’t dramatically change you sleep schedule during the weekends. An hour or hour and a half is okay, but much more than that will create stress for those all important adrenal glands.
• Exercise in the morning or early afternoon. You will not only get increased fat burning and muscle building benefit, but you will avoid evening workouts that tend to throw your adrenal gland function off. In the evening the body should be slowing down; exercise forces it to do the opposite and your sleep will not be as restful as a result.
• If you actually cannot sleep, whether it is trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or not feeling well rested in the morning, understand that you likely need the help of a clinician that understands how to get to the root of the problem. (We are happy to help you in if in our clinical nutrition department if you need it.)
• If your doctor prescribes sleeping pills as a ‘solution’ to your sleep problems, find a new doctor. The critical functions that happen between the adrenal glands and the hormone melatonin that protects you from disease and ensures a restful night sleep are not remedied by a drug. On the contrary, such drugs likely worsen the situation will bring the added stress of side effects to the table.
• If you crave sweets and refined carbohydrates, you likely are not absorbing your nutrients properly. Your cells are therefore ‘hungry’ despite having eaten a decent meal. Such cravings are usually created by food sensitivities, hidden infections and/or toxicity. That may sound scary, but it’s truly not hard to fix. The unstable blood sugar that cravings mean will sabotage the adrenal glands and induce poor sleep, with the result being weight gain.
The good news is that none of this is difficult to fix. Be patient with yourself but firm. Understand that good restorative sleep is critical to prevent not only weight gain, but degenerative disease as well. And, sleeping pills are not the answer. If the ‘do it yourself’ program above doesn’t completely handle the situation, find a clinician that understands how to address the root cause issues as mentioned above.
Get a Program Just For You!
We are truly happy to help you here at HealthNOW. Our program works successfully by addressing the points I have mentioned above, but with a tailor-made program just for you.
As an example, if your adrenal glands need strengthening, we can discover that with a lab test and design a nutritional program for you.
Further, if you have a food sensitivity or toxicity or infection, those too will need to be diagnosed with a lab test and treated appropriately. Regardless of whether you come to see us or we help you to find someone, the critical point is to get the issue solved. You will truly be extending your life and saving your health – and that’s no exaggeration.
One of the researchers in the study had this to say – I”ll warn you, it’s depressing:
“In the developed world,” says Buxton, “we’re subjecting ourselves to a giant unnatural experiment in the presence of excess food.” And right now, he says, it looks as if “everyone’s turning into a tub of lard.”
Well I think we can agree that’s not a pretty picture. But don’t despair, with the correct diet and lifestyle changes we CAN change our direction as it relates to obesity and ill health. Please contact me if you need assistance – we are here to help!
Are You Overweight?
If so, consider contacting our clinic as it has helped many people achieve the weight they desire!—contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call (408) 733-0400 to schedule. Our medical center is located in Sunnyvale, CA. If you are not local to us, our DESTINATION CLINIC treats patients from across the country and internationally. We will help you find the underlying root cause!
To your health,
Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”