Are you under 40 and either gaining weight or struggling to lose it? Some academics in the US might have found a possible reason that is not related to food choices.
A research study conducted by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that there is a clear link between lack of SLEEP and the build up of visceral fat (belly fat). Many of us are aware of the risks associated with having excess fat around those organs – heart disease, metabolic conditions, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes to name a few.
We put a lot of stock in diet,” said Kristen G. Hairston, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism and lead author on the study. “But this study brings up some interesting questions about the way we live. We may need to start looking at other behaviours – besides daily food choices – that could be contributing to the obesity epidemic in younger age groups.”
The first part of the study concentrated on individuals under the age of 40 and there was a clear link between those who slept less, 5 hours or less a night on average, and large increases in the amount of abdominal (belly) fat, i.e. fat around the organs. It was interesting to note that of all the groups tested the connection between the under 40’s lack of sleep and increased levels of visceral fat was higher than any other age category.
There are many reasons we may not sleep well or long enough, demanding job, burning the candle at both ends, babies or young children, money problems, relationship issues and the list goes on. Life for many of us is complex and emotions such as stress, anxiety, worry, fear, guilt, anger etc. can all play a part in our daily lives and disrupt our ability to sleep.
Also considered was the fact that when we sleep less, we might eat more as we have more waking hours in the day. Less sleep may also have an impact on energy levels which could result in the reluctance and lack of motivation to be physically active. Sleep also has a huge impact on the way our brain functions. Making decision, problem solving and judgement calls become much more challenging when you are sleep deprived.
But why the under 40’s you ask – well the scientists are still trying to work that one out and while they do there is lots of information on sleep hygiene around but here are some simple things I do when I find sleep escapes me.
I listen to a relaxing sleep audio using guided meditation or gentle hypnosis, burn some calming essential oils, make sure the room is quiet, dark and that air is circulating, Having a 3 to 4 hours break from food, alcohol and technology/TV before you go to bed can make a huge difference to sleep quality. When I am worried or overly stressed about something then I use EFT/Tapping which works a treat. For more information or help with sleep email me on email@example.com.
So sleep tight.