Brain Bulletin #83 - A Brain Trick to Keep You Thin

in Brain Bulletin

Getting enough sleep keeps you thin.

I have been telling people in my live presentations for years that sleep is very important for brain health. Now there is another good reason to get enough 'shut-eye'. Accumulating research says that even short-term, partial sleep deprivation can cause weight gain and other negative metabolic consequences.

The day following a 'less than seven hours of sleep night' the average person will eat 29% more calories. It seems that a cognitively tired brain doesn't always make good food choices.

Why does this happen?

Ghrelin and leptin are involved. Ghrelin is involved in sending hunger signals. Leptin helps to tell you when you are full. When don't get enough sleep you body makes more ghrelin and less leptin. You don't need me to tell you what happens next.....

Also, consider this. When you don't get enough sleep:

  • Your neurons don't secrete the normal amount of the 'feel good' chemicals dopamine and serotonin. This is a powerful recipe for craving cake, candy, ice cream, pasta, and bread. (you can probably think of a few other things)
  • Even a 16 minute loss of sleep each night increases the risk of obesity. (as reported in the medical journal "Sleep")
  • Lack of sleep can raise the level of the stress hormone cortisol. This encourages your body to break down muscle and store fat.
  • Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism.
  • Being awake longer gives you more time and opportunity to eat.
  • When your brain is tired your judgment is impaired and will power is depleted.

The relationship between sleep duration and Body Mass Index is clear.

I think there are two bottom lines:

  1. Sleep more. Try for seven to nine hours.
  2. Life isn't perfect. You won't always get seven hours of sleep. So, when you don't, be vigilant. Know that you are likely to make poor food choices. Be mindful. Set yourself up for success.

These links may help you find ways to improve your sleep:

   Nine Bad Habits that Can Steal Your Sleep

   Seven Foods that Can Help You Get a Better Sleep

Remember, you eat with your brain. Mindfulness is key.

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Well, it has been a busy fall. 34 presentations in Sept. and Oct. I started in Calgary presenting to First Calgary Financial and finished with the B.C. CEO Forum in Vancouver. Lots of interesting groups in between.

Next month, I am looking forward to presenting 3 times at the ECIS Annual Conference in Nice, France and then a little holiday in Italy. I also speak to Walker Industries in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario. I will probably visit a few wineries while I am in the area. I also speak to teachers and lots of public seminars in the Vancouver area.

To all my new friends in Ireland, I am pleased to be returning the week of Feb. 2-9, 2013. I will be working again with Poll Moussoulides, We will be having sessions on leadership and the brain/body/voice connection in Dublin, Cork, and perhaps Galway. The event details will be finalized soon. We would love to see you there.

My favorite book this month was a food and the brain book - "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler. It's 'over the top'.