Avoid unwanted weight gain with…sleep?

In a November 2012 Harvard Gazette “Probing Sleep’s Drowsy Mystery”, Harvard researchers report that finding the delicate balance between high-demand careers, such as medicine, and high-quality performance remains elusive. They cite a study from 2009, in which the incidence of complications in surgical procedures increased by 170%  where the surgeon had less than 6 hours of sleep.

“Though sleep remains a mystery, research at Harvard and elsewhere has shown that it is much more important to our overall health than was previously appreciated, which prompts researchers to express frustration that their findings are routinely ignored by a nation obsessed with getting to work on time, getting the job done, and getting ahead.”

Wait…there’s more.  Night shift workers, due to the disrupted sleep cycle, are at greater risk for diabetes, development of some cancers, and weight gain, with increased secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin.  So sleep in a routinized, consistent cycle matters, too.

According to Harvard School of Public Health Professor Frank Hu, “Most research is focused on diet and exercise,” Hu said. “We’re missing the third pillar of health, which is sleep.”

So when the sun is setting, it’s time to plan for enough sleep.  Skillful time management is another tool for keeping your weight at a healthy place.

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