According to an article at MSN.com, researchers have determined that getting more sleep may help reduce overeating. The researchers suggest that depending upon how long one sleeps will affect one’s appetite—the longer one sleeps the less one wants to eat, the shorter one sleeps the more one’s appetite increases. Apparently short sleep (four hours) leads to increased levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone in men . . . in women it reduced the levels of satiety (feeling of fullness) hormone GLP-1 . . . which, for both, creates the urge to overeat. The researchers state that the “findings support the idea that amount of sleep has a direct effect on eating and weight control.” In the brilliance of what I consider my mind, I deduct that this could mean that sleep can become the next new diet fad.
Two things I do well: eat and sleep.
I eat well. For years eating was not an issue with me. I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain an ounce . . . then, a couple of years ago, age caught up with me. I can still eat anything that I want, but now it has a tendency to stick around longer—usually around my waist and tummy. The Pillsbury Doughboy and I have something in common when it comes to looks . . . a pasty white belly that protrudes to the point that people want to poke us and watch it spring back out. Over the last couple of years eating anything I want, the body has decided to give me a reminder of the joys of eating. To put it simply, I have put on some weight over the past couple of years. I’d blame it on my eating habits, but those are the same habits that have kept me alive up to this point. Instead, I blame it on a body that is getting old, tired, and less efficient at processing what I eat. I’ve got the middle-age bulge.
Well, one would think that that would be enough incentive for me to lose a little weight. I don’t like the way I look. The doctor doesn’t like the way that I look. Together we determined that I should lose a little weight through the usual practices of diet and exercise. The doctor told me to watch what I eat, cut back, and to exercise more . . . and I do. I watch everything that I eat as it goes from the plate to the mouth . . . I appreciate the food that I eat, but just watching it does not help one lose weight. That is where a diet comes in . . . die at it . . . diet. I cannot diet no matter how often I try—I like to eat too much and God created so much good food to eat. Besides, it would hurt my wife’s feelings if I restricted my diet because she is a wonderful cook. Exercise . . . well, my knees, lungs, legs, and head all start to hurt whenever I think about exercising. Pain is something that is to be avoided . . . exercise produces pain. Let’s just say that I have not really begun to exercise. The bulge is winning on all fronts!
I sleep well. Always have slept well. These researchers are suggesting that the more one sleeps the less that he is going to overeat. The less one overeats, the less one gains weight . . . probably even begins to lose weight. Who would have thought! Sleep to lose weight! A person can’t eat while sleeping . . . why didn’t someone come up with this idea sooner? This is a diet I can probably stick to . . . I sleep well.
Except . . . and this is a big “except” . . . I don’t sleep enough. I am closer to the short sleep than the long sleep. I average about six hours of sleep a night . . . sort of a limbo land I imagine in the research that varies from person to person. I think that I fall into the category that has a strong desire to eat when I wake up. At least that is what my stomach tells me every morning—let’s eat! Let’s eat and not that whole grain, high fiber crap that people pass off as nutritious and good for you. My stomach wants bacon, eggs, hash browns, and toast . . . or a couple of Egg McMuffins. Apparently I am not sleeping enough.
So, if sleeping has the potential to help me control and maybe even lose weight, then I am all for sleeping more. The problem is finding the time to sleep. Lots of people catch up on their sleep at church, but I am the minister and that would look bad if I fell asleep during the worship service. Others do it watching television, I would have to start watching television to pull that one off. My father used to do it when reading the newspaper. Every night after he got off of work he would announce that he was going to the living room to read the newspaper . . . turns out that that was code for “I’m taking a nap now and you had better leave me alone!” I could sleep in staff meetings at work but we only have those every two weeks. The issue is not wanting to sleep more to lose weight, but finding the time to sleep.
But I have hope . . . renewed hope . . . I can lose this weight. I think I will start right now . . . I feel a nap coming on. Who would have thought that a little sleep could whittle the weight a way?