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Weight Loss for Teens: Get More Sleep!

Teens who wish to lose some of that excess body fat and slim down a dress size or several ought to consider getting sufficient sleep each night as an important part of their daily health routine.

According to a US doctor in a study published in the journal, Sleep, sufficient sleep means getting 8 hours or more every night.

Less Sleep, More Weight

sleep for weight loss in teensDr. Susan Redline of Boston's Brigham and Womens Hospital as well as the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the lead author of the study, says that there are definite links between shorter amounts of sleep in teens and chronically altered dietary patterns that lead to weight gain.

In a statement, Dr. redline said,

"The relative increase in fat consumption among shorter sleepers by 2.2 percent per day chronically may contribute to cumulative increases in energy consumption that would be expected to increase risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease."

The study found that teens who sleep less than 8 hours on week nights tend to eat much higher proportions of snacks and fatty foods than those who get a full 8 hours or more sleep. The study reveals that for each one hour increase in the duration of sleep, there was a 21 percent reduction in the odds of consuming high levels of calories from snacks.

Dr. Redline and her colleagues looked into the eating habits of a group of 240 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 in the ongoing Children's Sleep and Health Study in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and also at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

How to Get More Quality Sleep Each Night

While it's all well and good talking about sleeping longer each night to avoid weight gain in teens, the practical side of it may not be quite as clear cut as it sounds. Certainly there is a need to get more hours of good quality sleep, but how do you get them?

There are several ways of achieving this if you're willing to try.

  1. Turn off computers, computer games, phones and tablets earlier in the evening.

    There is a very good reason for doing this. All computer activity and especially games increase the amount of stress hormone, cortisol being secreted. By stopping this activity earlier, your body gets a chance to de-stress earlier. After all, it's very hard to get to sleep when you're really stressed and if there's a lot of cortisol circulating in the body, the quality of sleep will be impaired and sleep itself will likely be interrupted several times throughout he night.
  2. Read a book (a real one, made of paper) for a half hour or longer before going to sleep as this will help relax you and improve the quality of your sleep.
  3. Eat your last meal earlier in the evening and do not snack on cookies and milk before bedtime. This will help your digestive process to cease working earlier and allow for better sleep where the body can divert all its energy to the healing process.

  4. Avoiding sugary snacks and sugary drinks before bedtime is an obvious way to reduce the blood sugar levels and not have that excess stored as extra fat overnight.
  5. Drink an herbal tea about an hour before bedtime. Choose a herb like camomile, melissa (lemon balm), or tila (lime flower) as these have mildly relaxing properties and are easily available from most food or health stores in convenient teabags. Avoid adding honey or sweetener to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

The general idea is to be relaxed and calm before going to bed and to choose a sensible time, preferably before midnight. By ensuring your blood sugar levels are not spiking by avoiding sweet foods or those high in refined carbs for several hours before sleeping also helps to ensure a better quality, restful and rejuvenating sleep.


Posted on Mon, 06 Sep 2010 in News | 1 Comments

1 thoughts on "Weight Loss for Teens: Get More Sleep!"

Dan says:

Yeah, my own teenage kids are always staying up to 3 or 4 in the morning playing their stupid computer games. Then they can't stay awake at school. The world has gone crazy and these kids are gonna grow up to be morons cause they don't learn anything at school and overweight slobs. The answer is to ban computer games in the home and you solve a big part of the problem... but you try and stop your teens playing them! Impossible!