Reader’s Digest (Australia), December 2007
Actually this one seems to have some merit, based on my professional understanding of the role of adequate, good quality sleep in brain and body health.
The weight-loss context for sleep goes like this:
When you don’t get a solid 8 hours of sleep, some important hormones become unbalanced. The specific hormones are leptin, ghrelin, and insulin. Leptin makes you feel “full” when you’re eating, ghrelin makes you feel hungry. Insulin comes into the equation as well because when you’re sleep deprived your insulin sensitivity decreases – long story short version means that you’re more likely to store excess glucose as fat, so you’re more likely to crave high-calorie foods.
So how much sleep is enough?
Surprise: it’s different for every person. Just like some people have more efficient fat storage, some people have more efficient sleep genes. However if you’re sleeping more than about 9 hours per night every night and still not waking refreshed, you may have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. Personally I’d see my acupuncturist about that, but you may prefer to see another medical practitioner.
Irish psychologist and sleep researcher Ivan Tyrrell says sleep is essential to good mental health as well. You need to sleep for about 4 hours before your brainwaves settle to a long slow delta wave for about an hour to an hour and a half. During that time your brain essentially defrags itself, sorting and storing all the experiences of the day. If you don’t get into delta sleep all those experiences are kept in memory. Kind of like rebooting your computer – it speeds up once it’s dumped all the stuff you’re not actively using. Continual sleep deprivation often leads to mood disorders, like depression. Tyrrell has had excellent results in healing people of depression in just a few hours, by helping them restore good sleeping patterns.
So sleep more, lose weight, feel great