Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Weighing in on a Good Night's Sleep

Ask Glen!

Q. Any more information about sleep disorders and weight

A. Yes, here is a story about a friend of mine.

Before a Friend of mine was diagnosed with sleep apnea, he used to pull over to the side of the road on the way to and from work to take a nap. When he got home from work, he could barely stay awake through dinner. After one doctor diagnosed him with chronic fatigue syndrome, he visited a sleep clinic, where doctors observed his sleep patterns over two nights’ time. They found that his sleep was disturbed over 300 times in eight hours, and diagnosed his apnea. No wonder he couldn’t stay awake during the day.

One of the reasons for my friends sleep troubles was his weight. Overweight people have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea, the condition that obstructs airflow through the nose, mouth, and throat, because they have more fatty tissue in those areas. The restricted airways can cause people to stop breathing momentarily, and wake them up throughout the night. People who suffer from sleep apnea rarely wake up feeling refreshed from a decent night’s sleep.

Sleep Well, Stay Slim

And a good night’s sleep might be just what they need, not only to feel alert and rested but to help with weight management. As more research points to the relationship between sleeping well and managing weight, health professionals are highlighting the importance of sleep not just for mental health but also for physical health.

People with sleep apnea are caught in an unfortunate cycle: while being overweight increases their risk for the condition, the apnea makes it difficult to lose weight. People who aren’t well rested may not have the energy for exercise and may make poor nutrition choices. We all know the lines, “Let’s get takeout. I’m too tired to cook.”

But it’s not only people with sleep apnea who are sleep deprived. A 2005 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that only 48 percent of Americans get enough sleep. The average American adult, the foundation says, gets 6.9 hours of sleep a night—just under the recommended 7-9 hours. Many get less than that, and as many as 40 million suffer from some type of sleep disorder, like apnea or insomnia.

How does too little sleep affect weight management? Without enough sleep, people can get caught in a low-energy cycle that keeps them from exercising and eating well, says Dr. Kenneth Goodrick, associate professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Goodrick points to sleep as an important piece of the foundation for a high-energy cycle that can motivate people to exercise and eat healthfully.

Furthermore, lack of sleep can disrupt the production of certain hormones that regulate appetite. Too little sleep raises levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes us feel hungry. Tired? Your body’s production of leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full, might also be suppressed.

Cut the Coffee

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, think about making lifestyle changes before you ask your doctor for a prescription sleep aid. Among other things, sleep experts recommend sticking to a set bedtime, even during the weekend. Exercise is known to boost energy throughout the day and facilitate deep sleep at night, so if you don’t already have a program, start taking daily 30-minute walks and build from there.

And take a look at your diet. Most adult Americans drink between 2-4 cups of coffee a day, which totals between 200-300 milligrams of caffeine. Since caffeine is a stimulant, the amount you drink and the time of day you drink it can affect your sleep. Too much caffeine can also wake you up in the night. Try cutting back on caffeine if you’re drinking more than a cup or two a day, and try not to drink it within 5-8 hours before bedtime.

Although many people consider alcohol a sedative, drinking can also disturb your sleep, particularly if you drink alcohol close to bedtime. A drink before bed might make you feel drowsy, but your sleep will eventually be disrupted as your body processes the alcohol, especially in the second half of the night.

Tapering off your caloric intake as the day goes on is known to help with weight management, but it also might help you sleep better. If your body is trying to digest a heavy meal at the same time that you’re trying to go to sleep, you won’t sleep as well. Eating light, easy-to-digest foods, like greens and whole grains, will better prepare your body for bed.

A good night’s sleep, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise. They’re all parts of a big picture, one that features a well-fed, fit, and rested population. That’s something to dream about.

Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program.Please consult your physician !
Wishing You Great Health!

Glen Edward Mitchell

Any questions? Ask Glen

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Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States
Is the Founder of Fitness Builders 4 Life,the WorkOut GEM,G350,G180, G90, Eat 4 Life, Clean, Lean & Mean & Ask Glen. The mission of the Fitness Builders is to provide the community with health education and to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. By educating the community on healthier lifestyle practices it is the intent of Fitness Builders to reduce the ravages of obesity, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle or self inflicted diseases. Glen is also a AMA Certified Nutrition Specialist and a ACE, ACSM, NASM Certified Personal Trainer has 30+ years in Sports, Exercise Science and Nutritional Food Management, Learning and Mentoring Men and Women on a more Mental & Physical Healthy Life Style consisting of a low fat, low salt, Low carbohydrate, high protein, organic nutrition which also includes moderate exercise and mental awareness. Stay Informed, Live long and be Mentally and Physically Healthy! Any questions? Ask Glen!

Any Questions? Ask Glen!