Friday, December 23, 2011 11:37:50 AM America/Chicago
If you are having trouble losing weight, ask your self are you getting enough quality sleep? There is substantial links between sleep and weight. The lack of sleep is a big problem in the United States today. Over the last 40 years, Americans on average sleep 2 hours less.
The body has a finely tuned appetite management system that is controled by hormones. These hormones are affected by sleep. When there is a lack of quality sleep this signals the body to crave high calorie and carbohydrate foods. While lack of sleep generally leads to increased hunger and overeating, some studies have found that even sleep-deprived people who did not eat more were at higher risk for weight gain and obesity.(1)
So what is the magic number of hours of sleep? Well generally between 7-9 hours of quality sleep are recommmended. To find out how much sleep you need try adjusting your bedtime if possible to the point where you wake up just a few minutes before your alarm goes off.
Some people may need help getting to sleep and staying a sleep at night. Using OTC (Over The Counter) or prescription medications are not the best option. If used long term they can be habit forming and can lead to cronic insomnia. A number of natural sleep aides are availble that do not cause dependancy or have hang-over effects that cause sleep walking or sleep eating.
Melatonin, is the sleep-inducing pineal hormone, is particularly recommended for older people since its production is reduced with age. Using this supplement 2 hours before the desired bed time can help reset their bioloigic clock. Once the desired bedtime is achieved, the melatonin can be stopped.(2)
L-Tryptophan and its derivative, 5-Hydroxy-L-Trptophan (5-HTP) are converted to seratonin which helps induce relaxation and naturally enhances sleep. Low serotonin levels are often the cause of sleep deprivation as well as depression.
GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It is important for brain metabolism, and aids in proper brain function. When taken with niacinamide and inositol, GABA can mimic the calming effects of valium and librium with out the heavy sedated effects of these drugs and with out the fear of addiction.(3)
Valerian Root acts as a muscle relaxer and has a calming effect for general nervousness, depression, despondency and nervous headaches. Iridoid compounds called valepotriates, present in the root, infiltrate brain tissue, blood cells and the central nervous system where they produce a strong sedative effect on the entire body. In studies using valerian for relief of insomnia, the herb was found to reduce sleep latency, improve sleep quality and reduce morning sleepiness.(4)
(1)Shomon M, Sleep More, Lose Weight, Thyroid Disease, About.com, Sept 7, 2007
(2)Field R, Melatonin May Relieve Sleep-Cycle Disorders", Medical Tribune, April 8, 1993;2.
(3)Sahley B, The Anxiety Epidemic, Evett and Assoc., San Antonio, TX, 1986.
(4)Heinerman John, Herbal Research Manual for Professional Therapeutics, Root of Life, Inc., 1982.
*Please consult your healthcare professional before introducing any supplement into your diet.