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Starved for Sleep? Watch Your Waistline
Date:3/16/2008

Not enough slumber can contribute to weight gain, experts say,,,,

SUNDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Could the key to weight loss for some people be as simple as getting some extra shuteye?

Possibly. New research suggests that people who don't get enough sleep tend to weigh more -- and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin.

"There is a dynamic balance between proper sleep and proper health. Sleep deprivation affects weight and a lot of other things. If you cheat sleep, there are a number of consequences, including affecting your hormones, appetite and mood," said Dr. Patrick Strollo, medical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Sleep Medicine Center.

Two out of three Americans are overweight, and almost one in five are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, while most people are aware of the relationship of diet and exercise to excess weight, few realize that the amount of sleep they get each night can also affect their weight.

Researchers at the Sleep Disorders Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia conducted two studies, each included 1,000 men and women, and they found that those who reported sleeping less tended to weigh more.

Of course, it could be that being overweight might make it harder to get a restful night sleep.

"People who are overweight may have less restful sleep due to heartburn, snoring or more serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea or night eating syndrome," said Dr. Michelle May, author of "Am I Hungry? What To Do When Diets Don't Work."

But, she said, "It works both ways," and that a lack of sleep can affect your weight. Sleep deprivation affects your body chemistry, appetite and the choices that you make throughout the day, May said.

Another recent study included 12 healthy men in their 20s. Each of the
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