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Getting a Good Night's Sleep Could Help You Lose Weight

If you're trying to lose weight, getting a full night's sleep may be just as important as eating right and exercising. Researchers have found that the amount of sleep you get alters the levels of two hormones that stimulate hunger and suppress appetite.

27 men and women, all of whom were of a normal weight, participated in the study. They all regularly slept seven to nine hours per night.

In the first phase of the study, participants slept only four hours per night for four days. Three weeks later, they slept nine hours per night for four days. A controlled diet was provided during both study periods and daytime naps were not permitted.

The researchers took fasting blood samples every day, as well as frequent blood samples throughout the entire study period to determine hormone levels. They found that the amount of sleep participants had altered levels of the hormones ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1).

Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry and GLP-1 is the hormone that suppresses appetite.

However, sleep duration did not affect levels of glucose, insulin, or leptin, indicating that short sleep durations did not result in increased insulin resistance.

Participants lost an average of 2.2 pounds during the habitual sleep period compared to 1.7 pounds during the short sleep period.

The study was conducted by researchers associated with Columbia University and St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. It was published in the December 2012 issue of Sleep.

Previous studies have shown that eating flaxseeds, whey protein, and prebiotics may also reduce levels of ghrelin.

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