A few months ago, Jessica came to see me with concerns that she has a metabolism problem. She was understandably frustrated and overwhelmed. She has two small children and is battling the last remaining extra pounds from her pregnancies. While caring for two small children is a full time job, her new goal is to refocus on taking care of herself a little bit too.
She never had a terrible diet, but is now diligent about eating healthy foods and mixing in more fruits and vegetables. She actually started exercising again. She wakes up at 5:00 a.m. to work-out, while her husband is still home and her kids are sleeping. So why isn’t she losing any weight? Before she wasn’t exercising or watching her diet. Now that she has made lifestyle changes, nothing has happened!
After running through a number of questions, I learned that Jessica goes to bed at midnight. She explains that her house is finally quiet after her children are asleep and she is able to get organized for the next day. So, she takes a few hours to unwind with her husband and perhaps watch some TV. But going to bed at midnight means she is getting only five hours of sleep every night – and that simply is not enough.
How can sleeping to little promote weight gain?
Studies have shown that sleep is in fact related to weight. There are several hormones that are produced while you sleep, such as ghrelin and leptin, that regulate weight and appetite control. These hormones are not produced properly with less than seven hours of sleep.
What happens when we are sleep deprived?
Research has also shown that people who are sleep deprived tend to crave higher calorie foods. Additionally, if you are tired you are less motivated to exercise and make the effort it takes to eat a healthy diet.
What is enough sleep?
Like many things, optimal sleep time is an individual thing. It is not uncommon for women to require 7-9 solid hours of sleep to be well rested. This is a bit more than their male counterparts. However, there are exceptions to this. A small percentage of women (and men) require much less sleep. These people tend to know who they are. Famous examples include Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart.
Is all sleep created equal?
Not quite. There is the issue of quality of sleep. Even if Jessica were going to bed at 9:00, if her eight hours of sleep a night are interrupted hours or not “good sleep,” she may have the same problem. The reasons for poor sleep may include snoring, restless legs and other sleep disturbances (both medical causes and external ones. Say….children). If you suspect that you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep but are still tired, your sleep quality may not be adequate. You should make sure to be evaluated by your doctor. Certain sleep disorders can in fact be related to vitamin deficiencies. More on that in future blogs.
What happened to my patient?
In Jessica’s case, she slept just fine once she went to bed. She simply was not getting enough of it. Jessica finally got to sleep! Six months later, her lifestyle changes, with her new sleep schedule, finally paid off. She reached her goal weight and found that she had more energy for her family.
Are you getting enough sleep? Take our survey at Find Your Vous® to find out what vitamins may help your health.
For more tips on how to help get better sleep click here.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three elementary age boys. Arielle Levitan is a doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three active adolescents. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that women, in their many roles, often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each woman is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide women everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.