According to a recent study, inadequate sleep causes an average weight gain of 6 ½ pounds. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of the best-selling book, “From Fatigue to Fantastic,” explains to Newsmax Health how a lack of sleep can sabotage your diet and health.
The research illustrating the impact of too little sleep on body weight “was a real shock,” Dr. Teitelbaum says, but it actually makes sense.
“Because sleep is what regulates your appetite hormones, like leptin, and also growth hormone, which is the fountain of youth hormone,” he explains. “Because of this, if you don’t sleep, you gain an average [of] 6 ½ pounds.”
And it’s not just your figure that suffers from insufficient shut-eye. Your immune system and mental function also are affected, he says.
More than a century ago, Americans got an average of nine hours of sleep a night. Then the lightbulb was invented and people began staying up longer, getting an average of 6 ¾ hours a night. Today, most people should be aiming for at least seven and preferably eight hours of sleep a night, he advises.
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“Having said that, there is no one-size-fits-all,” he adds. “So if you feel great, what you’re doing is working, and [you can] ignore everything I’m saying.”
But if you’re tired, achy, gaining weight, and you lack energy, try getting more sleep and see if that helps you feel better, he recommends.
Natural remedies, such as the smell of lavender or ½ milligram of the sleep hormone melatonin at bedtime can ease you into slumber, he says.
“Many natural things can leave you sleeping like a puppy,” he says. “And you’ll feel a lot better for it.”
For people with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and insomnia, he might prescribe low doses of sleep medications Ambien, Neurontin, and Trazodone.
“If [they’re] needed though I will combine them with natural remedies so [patients] need less medication,” he says.
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