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Sleep on it. No, really, I mean it. Sleep on it.   

Dear Corfield,

It seems sort of counterintuitive, the rule about adequate sleep being key to efficient weight loss. If you sleep less, wouldn’t your body have more time to burn the calories you consumed during the day? The answer, according to pretty much every sleep expert who ever laid his head down on a pillow and started counting sheep, is a resounding no. The more we learn about sleep—and every year, practically every month we’re learning more—the clearer it becomes that getting enough of it is one of the most important facets of weight loss. Inadequate sleep can cause a rise in cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which can in turn lead to poor decision making—meaning we’re more likely to give into cravings. Poor sleep can also mess with our brain-body messages, meaning our body tells our brain we’re hungry when we’re not. And when we’re tired we may feel too sluggish to exercise, which means we’re metabolizing all of our food less efficiently. With a solid night of sleep (more than seven hours) most of us feel happier, calmer, and more able to cope with the trials and tribulations that make up every day. In that way, think of a good night of sleep as a gift not just to ourselves but to everyone around us too.


(Meg Mitchell Moore is a freelance writer and novelist. She lives north of Boston with her husband and three children and is an avid fan of healthy eating and healthy living.)



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