Could the Lack of Sleep Be Harming
You and Your Family?
Sleep Loss on Children
Can Cause Weight Gain & Shorter Attention Spans
American families, the typical day includes rising early for school
followed by a late afternoon of some social activity and arriving
home just in time for a quick dinner. Then, you rush to get the
kids a bath, and work late on homework while preparing for the next
day. It’s late in the night before everyone is down and six
hours later the routine begins all over again. While your family
may seem to be surviving by this now-typical American routine, inside
each family member is a time bomb waiting to go off.
Recent findings by a Harvard Medical School professor and sleep
researcher found that students need plenty of sleep because a growth
hormone is secreted during sleep, and if they do not sleep enough,
they will have shorter attention spans and use calories less efficiently.
“When you don’t get the hours of sleep your body needs,
the hormone ghrelin increases, and studies show it causes you to
want to eat more food, especially high-carb foods,” says Nutritionist
Cherie Calbom, author of the new book Sleep Away the Pounds (Warner
Wellness.) “In addition, the hormone leptin that controls
the appetite goes down. This can cause intense hunger sensations.
One study found that participants with the biggest fluctuation of
hormones craved the most fattening foods such as ice cream, cakes,
candy, and salty snacks like potato chips.” Many people have
thought it was just a lack of willpower when they couldn’t
conquer cravings or binge eating; now we know, that for many people,
its hormonal imbalances.
Cherie Calbom, MS and her husband, John Calbom, MA, a Behavioral
Medicine Therapist, show how lack of sleep affects the efficient
use of calories and causes weight gain in their latest book Sleep
Away the Pounds (Warner Wellness).
A whopping one third of our population sleeps 6.5 or fewer hours
nightly—far less than the 8 hours that many sleep-specialists
recommend for adults. One physician says the number of overtired
patients he sees has soared in the last 25 years since he has been
in practice because families are trying “to squeeze 28 hours
of living into 24.”
In the Harvard professor’s findings, a student said that she
discovered she was sleeping a few hours less than the 11 hours recommended
for a 13-year-old. Her sleep journal showed that she played with
her cats, getting hyped up before bed or watched television and
was unable to turn it off. She has since started reading or doing
other relaxing activities to help her slow down before bedtime.
Tips for Better Sleep
-Wind down at least one hour before going to bed. Going at high
speed until you drop into bed can make it difficult to fall asleep.
For most of us, the mind doesn’t just shut off in seconds.
An hour before bedtime, turn off the TV, internet, and loud music;
avoid arguments, or anything else that would keep your mind chattering
and your body tense or hyped up when the lights go out.
of turkey in the refrigerator; eat a small trypthophan-rich snack
before bedtime. Turkey is rich in tryptophan, which helps us sleep.
It’s an amino acid that is a precursor of the sleep-inducing
substances serotonin and melatonin—the raw material the brain
uses to build relaxing neurotransmitters.
feet warm in winter. Wearing socks to bed can help. One study shows
that warming your feet at night reduces nighttime awakenings.
let go of troubling thoughts before bedtime. John Calbom. MA says
that if people let go of thoughts that trouble their minds at night,
they can sleep much better. Students are no exception. They can
experience stress-related sleep problems because they are worried
about school, sports activities, or pier relationships and can learn
to let those thoughts go.
our frenzy to experience it all and get it all done, many families
are missing out on one of life’s most important necessities—a
good night’s sleep,” says John Calbom. “We're
really only now starting to understand how that is affecting our
weight and our health, and it appears to be significant.”
Away the Pounds: Optimize your sleep and reset your metabolism
for maximum weight loss
By Cherie Calbom, MS.
240 pp., hard cover $21.99 US
Warner Books/Warner Wellness, Jan. 2, 2007
Available at www.sleepawaythepounds.com
Cherie Calbom, MS. is
a best-selling author and nutritionist with nearly two million books
in print in the United States and published around the world in
20 countries. Her previous best-sellers include The Coconut Diet,
Juicing for Life, George Foreman's Knock-Out-the-Fat Barbecue and
Grilling Cookbook, and the Complete Cancer Cleanse. Cherie earned
a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Bastyr University ,
where she now sits on the Board of Regents. She is also known to
millions of fans as “The Juice Lady” for her work with
juicing and health. John Calbom, MA is a behavioral medicine therapist
who earned his masters degree in counseling psychology from Santa
Clara University .
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