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National News

Could the Lack of Sleep Be Harming You and Your Family?

Sleep Loss on Children Can Cause Weight Gain & Shorter Attention Spans

For many 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.

-Keep slices 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.

-Keep your feet warm in winter. Wearing socks to bed can help. One study shows that warming your feet at night reduces nighttime awakenings.

-Learn to 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.

“In 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.”

Sleep 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
ISBN 0446579424

Available at www.sleepawaythepounds.com and www.amazon.com

 

About The Author:

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 .

Source: Event Management Services, Inc.


 

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