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Yes, ladies, that is a clue, to get more sleep! Theres a reason they call it beauty sleep.

Sleep helps you restore to your body’s full potential; including weight! Sleep influences the hormones in the body related to hunger. A good night’s rest can improve the chances of successful weight loss.

Adequate rest could play an important role in shedding pounds. It might seem like one more thing added to the long to-do list for losing weight, but paying attention to sleep patterns and getting the recommended amount of shuteye might help with reducing the number on the scale.

According to the National Sleep Foundation 63% of Americans do not get 8 hours of sleep a day and 31% get less then 7 hours on week days. In their 2008 Sleep America Poll, 72% of the respondents were overweight or obese. For, work days, these individuals reported less time in bed than the average weight respondents.

Simply stated, many people are not well rested. This is an even more improtant issue for those struggling to lose weight. Among other health risks, sleep deprivation could contradict weight loss effots by increasing hunger.

Sleep & Hormones

Sleep deprivation influences two hormones that play a major role in appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that is responsible for increasing appetite. Leptin is a hormone that lets the brain know when the body is full, therefore decreasing appetite.

When sleep deprivation occurs there is a decrease in leptin (the full hormone) and an increase in ghrelin (the appetite hormone). This leads to an increase in appetite overall. It appears taht this can result in hunger and increased food intake the day following a night of too little sleep.

How much?

Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunantely, there is no specific number of hours that is considered enough sleep. Several factors, including age and gender, influence how much one need to be well rested. Researching is still being conducted to look more closely at the variations in sleep requirements.

Getting a good nights sleep

The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips to improve the quality and quantity of sleep.

  • Before bedtime choose activities that are relaxing such as reading an enjoyable book or listening to soothing music. Avoid stressful activities such as paying bills or engaging in problem-solving.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products close to bedtime. All can disrupt sleep and influence sleep quality.
  • Eat and exercise at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. This reduces the possible disruption of falling asleep and staying asleep due to digestion, frequent bathroom trips and elevated body temperature.
  • Make an effort to create a sleep-friendly environment. The bedroom should be dark, quiet and cool. Sleep on a supportive mattress and pillows, and decorate in a way that is inviting and free of allergens.

 If losing weight were simple, Spandx would be just another screen name in a S&M chat room. But dieting is complicated: There are even ways to screw it up without even realizing it. For instance, who would ever think that working out in the a.m. or cranking the AC might be the reason you’re not slimming down?  Luckily, once you’ve ID’d these flubs, fixing them is nowhere near as hard as pulling on a pair of control-top hose.

Roadblock No. 1:   You work out at 6 a.m.

And what’s wrong with that? Morning workouts are great- if you go to bed at 10 p.m.  In a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who slept seven or more hours a night were less likely to put on weight then women who didn’t. Those who slept only six hours a night were 12 percent more likely to gain substantial weight -33 pounds on average over the course of 16 years! (Women who slept a measly 5 hours had a 32 percent chance of gaining 30 or more pounds). Other studies have linked lack of sleep to a higher BMI and have found that it negatively affects levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Detour:  Don’t sacrifice your snooze time- not even for an extra long run. And quality matters more than quantity, so taking a siesta later won’t help. In a 20-minute power nap you don’t get the deep-sleep stages. You need to go throught the cycles of sleep over a few hours to get the restorative rest that allows your body to work properly. Bottom line: You’re better off sleeping through your workout every other day than stumbling to a sunrise Pilates class on too few Z’s.

  At one time or another, most of us have gotten behind the wheel without the benefit of adequate sleep. At the time, we were probably unaware sleep deprivation imparied our driving as significantly as driving drunk! Drowsy drivers are a serious threat to themselves and everyone else on the road.

          Know the Facts:

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. estimates that 100,000 of reported crashes occur as a result of drowsiness, and considers sleep deprived drivers a hazard equal in severity to drunk drivers. Studies show that staying awake for 18 hours and driving produces the same effect of being illegally drunk behind the wheel. The greater the sleep deprivation, the closer to correlation to higher levels of intoxication.

Actual statistics on crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by drowsy driving are difficult to calculate as there is no way to test the fatigue levels of drivers. The cost, damages, injuries, and fatalities resulting from sleep deprived drivers have been estimated at $12.5 billion.

           Who Is Doing It?

A study conducted by Farmers Insurace found that 10 percent of drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and 20 percent admitted to momentarily dozing off. Three times more men than women reported falling asleep while driving.

          How Bad Are the Results, What Could Really Happen?

Ford Motor Company performed a study that painted a sobering picture of the potential for damage. Ford found that a driver sleeping even 2.5 seconds ina car traveling 70 mph covers the length of one football field. With other vehicles on the road or pedestrians nearby, that one driver can cause significant harm. In a effort to increase safety, Ford plans to incorporate findings from the study into the design of features for their vehicles.

          Can There Really Be Legal Ramifications?

New Jersey passed “Maggie’s Law” in 2003. It allows sleep deprived drivers who cause accidents and have been awake more than 24 hours to be charged with vehicular homicide. The law also provides liability for companies that require empolyees to keep such hours. Existing laws in all states may cover the prosection of drowsy drivers for damages caused, but unfortunately do little to prevent an impaired driver from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

           How Can I Prevent Being a Drowsy Driver?

Many popular methods to stay awake, such as drinking a caffeniated beverage, opening windows, turning on air conditioning, or blasting the radio. But studies have shown that these methods are very much ineffective. The only proven preventative measure is to pull off the road and catch some shut eye. Even if its only 20 minutes. This small break is enough to restore a drivers abilities. It’s best to nap, awaken more refreshed, and then continue on to a safe place to sleep longer.

Wheather you are behind the wheel or a passenger, recognize the signs of drowsy driving:

  • Heavy eyelids, frequent blinking, difficulty focusing vision
  • Impaired concentration
  • Missing exits or traffic signals
  • Repeated yawning
  • Drifting into other lanes or off the road
  • Irritability or jumpiness

These symptoms are a warning no one can afford to ignore.

Driving drowsy is a hazardous practice, no one should try. Sleep is not something a body can do without. At some point, the human body will simple take that rest it needs no matter where you are. Look for the signals of drowsy driving, choose not to operate a vehicle in this state and help keep the roads safer for everyone.

Have you see the happy hippo….? Things starting to get a little weird up-stairs, can’t seem to concentrate, so tired….

 This is notable apparent in soldiers in combat zones, medical residents and even new parents. Now there’s a neurological basis for this theory, accodting to new research from the Unvr. of Cali and Harvard Med school.

 In the first neural investigation into what happens to the emotional brain without sleep, results from a brain imaging study suggest that while a good nights’ rest can regulate your mood and help you cope with the next days emotional challenges, sleep deprivation does the opposite by excessively boosting the part of the brain most closely connected to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

“It’s almost as though, without sleep, the brain had reverted back to more primitive patterns of activity, in that it was unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled, appropriate responses,” said Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuro-imaging Lab.

“Emotionally, you’re not on a level playing field, ” Walker added.

  That’s because the amygdala (ouu say that 5 times fast, shoot try saying it once 😉 ) the region of the brain that alerts the body to protect itself in times of danger, goes into overdrive on no sleep, according to the study. This consequently shuts down the prefrontal cortex, which commands logical reasoning, and thus prevents the release of chemicals needed to calm down the fight-or-flight reflex.

  If, for example, the amygdala reacts strongly to a violent movie, the prefrontal cortex lets the brain know that the scene is make-believe and to settle down. But instead of connecting to the prefrontal cortex, the brain on no sleep connects to the locus coeruleus, the oldest part of the brain, which releases noradrenalin to ward off imminent threats to survival, posing a volatile mix, accoding to the study.

  The study’s findings lay the groundwork for further investigation into the relationship between sleep and psychiatric illnesses. Clinical evidence has shown that some form of sleep disruption is present in almost all psychiatric disorders.

“This is the first set of experiments that demonstrate that even healthy people’s brains mimic certain pathological psychiatric patterns when deprived of sleep, “Walker said. “Before, it was difficult to separate out the effect of sleep versus the disease itself. Now we’re closer to being able to look into wheather the person has a psychiatric disease or a sleep disorder.’

  Using functioning Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Walker and his team found that the amygdala, which is also a key to processing emotions, became hyperactive in response to negative visual stimuli – mutilated bodies, children with tumors and otehr gory images- in study participants who stayed awake for 35 hours straight. Conversely, brain scans of those who got a full nights sleep in thier own beds showed normal activity in the amygdala.

“The emotional centers of the brain were over 60 percent more reactive under conditions of sleep deprivation that in subjects who had obtained a normal night of sleep.” Walker said, after conducting the study.

  The team studied 26 healthy participants aged 18 to 30, breaking them into two groups of equal numbers of males and females. The sleep-deprived group stayed awake during day 1, night 1 and day 2, while the sleep-control group stayed awake both days and slept normally during the night. During the fMRI brain scanning, which was performed at the end of day 2, each was shown 100 images that ranged from neutral to very negative. Using this emotional gradient, the researchers were able to compare the increase in brain response to the increasingly negative pictures.

  During Walker’s research, he was struck with the consistency of how graduate students in his studies would turn from affable, rational beings into what he called, “emotional JELL-O” after a night without sleep. He and his assistants searched for research that would explain the effect of sleep deprivation on the emotional brain and found none, although there is countless anecdotal evidence that lack of sleep causes emotional swings.

  What happens when you stop breathing during sleep?              

                          If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood is upset. This imbalance stimulates the brain to restart the breathing process. The brain signals you to wake up so that the muscles of the tongue and throat can increase the size for the airway. Then, carbon dioxide can escape, and oxygen can enter the airway.  These waking episodes are necessary to restart breathing (and save your life), but because of them, you become sleep-deprived.

sleep-deprived.jpgSleep Deprivation, both the person with sleep apnea and the bed partner suffer from sleep deprivation. A bed partner may lose an hour or more of sleep each night form sleeping next to a person with sleep apnea. Along with the apnea episodes, the person afflicted with sleep apnea may have additional trouble sleeping caused by side effects of the  condition, including a frequent need to get up and urinate during the night, and excessive sweating.  Some trickle-down effects of sleep deprivation are a compromised immune system, poor mental and emotional health, irritability, and slower reaction time, among other problems.

 In fact, a report in 2000 compiled by the U.S National Commission on Sleep Disorders shows that almost one out of ten people suffer from some sort of sleep and energy deprivation disorder.  Just from those statistics, that means, in America, as of July 2005, thats about 29,573,43 people (29 million!) have some sort of serious sleeping problem.  Thats almost twice the population of most small countries.

 A major and highly focused upon reaction of sleep deprivation is depression. Approximately one in five people who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from depression. Existing depression may also be worsened by sleep apnea. While it is not clear whether the apnea causes the depression or vice-versa, studies show that by treating sleep apnea symptoms, depression may be alleviated in some people. Keeping a journal of your sleep patterns and how you feel after not having adequate amount of sleep, and taking it to your doctor will help you conquer your sleep disorder and your depression.


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