Posted by: 4pack | September 4, 2009

“Ideal Shape”: Getting Adequate And Regular Sleep And Avoiding Late Night Eating Is Mandatory For Maintaining Ideal Weight

overeatingEating very late at night. Snacking at times that are out of sync with your circadian clock might be promoting weight gain. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, who just published new evidence in the journal Obesity, were inspired by earlier studies suggesting that irregular eating habits caused certain groups of people to be overweight: shift workers awake and eating at night; people who skip breakfast; and people with night-eating syndrome, who get a large percentage of their daily caloric intake after the dinner hour and regularly wake up and go foraging in the middle of the night.

To investigate whether late-night eating might translate into more pounds than daytime eating, the Northwestern team forced a group of mice to flip their normal wake-sleep schedule and allowed them to eat a high-fat diet only when they’d normally be asleep. Compared to a control group that ate a high-fat diet during regular waking hours, these out-of-whack mice gained significantly more weight. “I think sleep has a very important role in metabolism,” says Deanna Arble, a neuroscientist at Northwestern and the lead study author. She thinks the research may have implications for humans as well as mice: “For someone not consuming excess calories each day, and they’re doing everything by the book but still gain weight, maybe look into the time of day you’re eating. It could be a factor,” she advises. But the new research “does not mean you can eat as much as you want because it’s the right time of day.”

Not getting sufficient sleep. The lower people dip below seven hours a night, the fatter they seem to become. A theory about why: The intricate dance between hunger hormones appears to be disrupted when a person clocks too little shut-eye; for example, leptin, which suppresses appetite, is lowered while ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, gets a boost. According to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report that reviewed the body of research on sleep, “Addressing obesity will likely benefit sleep disorders, and treating sleep deprivation and sleep disorders may benefit individuals with obesity.”


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