One of your most effective weapons in your weight-loss battle, particularly the abdominal or visceral fat connected with way too many serious health problems, is one of the easiest most natural things to do -- sleep -- so long as you get the right amount of it.
Researchers monitored the effect different amounts of sleep (5.5 and 8.5 hours) had on 10 healthy but overweight patients (three women and seven men between ages 35-49) during two-week cycles in which they consumed about the same amount of calories (1,450) every day.
Although patients lost about the same amount of weight during both sleep cycles (6.6 pounds), the 8.5-hour phase yielded far better results. During the longer sleep cycle, patients lost almost the same amount of fat-free body mass (3.3 pounds) as they did body fat (3.1 pounds). On those shorter cycles, true fat loss fell by more than half to 1.3 pounds while fat-free body mass loss shot up to 5.3 pounds.
What's more, the amount of ghrelin -- the hormone that stimulates hunger, reduces energy expenditures and promotes the retention of fat -- in the bodies of patients rose only during the two weeks they spent sleeping fewer hours.
All the more reason, if you're weighed down by too many pounds, to get the right amount of sleep every night. Hopefully, our sleep guide will help you improve many other aspects of your waking health too.
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