May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm
by Megan Bingham
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a woman healthy, wealthy, and…thin?
It’s true—catching zzzzs might be the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight. It’s common knowledge that hormones (think melatonin) help us drift off to sleep, but new research suggests that how much quality sleep we get affects other hormones—in particular, the ones that control appetite.
The result? Not getting enough sleep throws leptin (the hormone that lets the brain know when you’re full) and ghrelin (the chemical in charge of stimulating appetite) completely out of whack. If you’ve ever had a sleepless night and spent the following day grazing insatiably, you know what I’m talking about.
The connection with dieting doesn’t stop there, though. In a Stanford University study, researchers followed the sleep habits of 1,000 volunteers and found that people who slept less than 8 hours a night had higher levels of ghrelin and body fat. And participants who slept the least weighed the most.
So if you’ve been skimping on sleep, it might be time to skip the gym and hit the sack.