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iVillage.com: 30 Days, 30 Ways to Drop a Dress Size

Get Quality Sleep

You’ve probably heard that getting enough sleep is important for weight loss, but did you know that getting enough quality sleep is really what helps keep the pounds off? A lack of deep REM sleep can leave you tired and gaining weight, Warner says. “Our pituitary glands crank out the highest levels of growth hormones while we are in deep sleep. Growth hormone is what repairs damaged tissues, burns fat and builds muscle.” And new research shows that a lack of sleep can throw our appetite hormones out of whack – leptin (the hormone in charge of signaling to your brain that you’re full) levels are lower and ghrelin (the one that tells your brain you’re still hungry) are higher in the sleep-deprived.

One study from Columbia University found that women who slept only four hours a night ate, on average, 329 calories more (and 31 grams of extra fat) the next day, versus when they were well rested. Yikes!

Your daily game plan: Schedule sleep, go to bed within 15-20 minutes of the same time each night and be sure you log in enough hours (experts recommend 7-9 hours depending on what feels best for your body) to potentially drop more than two pounds this month. Have trouble waking up in the middle of the night or falling asleep? Practice relaxation techniques before bed to help you unwind and give your body a better chance of getting into (and staying) in a deep sleep.

(Credit: M. Neira/Flickr/Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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