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Just sleep on it

When you snooze, you really do lose.

If you want to lose some inches around your waistline, try getting some more sleep. Growing research implicates both too little or too much sleep for elevated body mass index (BMI) and obesity. It appears to depend on age. So how much do we need to snooze to lose?  The recommended “dose” of sleep again depends on age.  Newborns take the cake for requiring the most—14 to 17 hours— while adults aged 26 to 64 need 7 to 9 hours, and adults 65+, 7 to 8.  Too little (<5 hours) constitutes sleep deprivation but too much appears counterproductive.

However the relationship looks exactly, the research generally agrees: for a lower BMI— don’t weight, go to sleep. Five empirical reasons may explain why:

More time awake means more time to eat

The longer you stay up, the more opportunities you have to eat.  Adults experimentally restricted to one hour and 20 minutes of less sleep than controls consumed 559 more calories per day than their counterparts, whose intake decreased by 118 calories.  The volume and density of our food also appear to increase over the day, with a majority (>35%) of calories consumed after 6 PM and a higher percentage of them derived from fat during late-night versus daytime or early evening hours.

The energy your body doesn’t get from sleeping, it seeks in eating calorically-dense, highly palatable foods

Because in its continuous striving for energetic homeostasis, the body compensates for sleep deprivation with excessive caloric intake, which explains why you probably didn’t binge on arugula during your last all-nighter.  In experimental studies of sleep restriction with subsequent ad libitum feeding opportunity (buffet meals and snacks), sleep-deprived adults not only tend to consume more food overall, they also eat more carbs, sweets, and saturated fats than controls. Epidemiological studies mirror these experimental data: “normal sleepers” (7-8 hr) consume more dietary fiber than short ones (5-6hr) who eat more calories more frequently from fat and refined carbohydrates, driving insulin resistance in these sleepers.

Under-sleeping may dysregulate two key opposing hormones in appetite regulation: leptin, an appetite-suppressant (anorexogenic), and ghrelin, an appetite-simulant (orexigenic).

We behave more impulsively with insufficient sleep

Sleep loss may selectively (de)activate brain regions implicated in emotionality and impulsivity. In one study, sleep-deprived adults exhibited a +60% greater magnitude of amygdala reactivity in response to negatively-valenced stimuli than controls. And when compared to their non-sleep-deprived counterparts on fMRI, these adults demonstrated significant functional dysconnectivity between the amygdala— our emotional processing hub — and the medial prefrontal cortex, which contributes to impulse inhibition.

Fatigue depletes our motivation

Daytime fatigue secondary to insufficient or poor sleep can hijack our motivation to engage in healthy behaviors, including preparing our own meals, initiating, and/or maintaining physical activities. Short (vs. long) sleep duration predicted more fast food consumption in one study, and briefer, less vigorous next-day exercise in another, as examples. And this cycle can quickly get vicious: over time, a reduced activity can promote deconditioning and excessive weight – the biggest risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—itself a major driver of daytime fatigue


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Ways to feel body-positive

With unrealistic and unattainable body-images constantly surrounding us on almost every medium, it becomes only natural to feel bad about your body. However, it can be dealt with easily.
Gousiya Teentalkindia Content Writer

Let’s start by answering one simple question, “How do you feel about your body?” If your immediate answer was not “Great”, paired up with a smile, then you might not be positive about your body but are not alone. This is a common issue with teenagers these days, especially with Indian teens. With advertisements and images of specific body type being constantly forced on us on almost every medium, it is easier to feel bad about our own bodies.

However, we can counteract this by building a positive body image. Body image can be easily understood as the perception that a person has of their physical appearance and the feelings and thoughts that result from that perception.

A positive body image makes us accept, appreciate and respect our body. So, in short, we don’t have to start feeling that our body is perfect, rather acknowledge our bodies the way they are and avoid any insecurities. 

A Positive body image also boosts our self-esteem as we start valuing ourselves. This leads to a positive attitude when we can accept our strengths and weaknesses without being negative about it. 

Here are a few ways to feel more than just good about your body.

Focus on your positives : skills, talents and qualities

Start your day by saying positive things to yourself daily

Avoid berating self-talk or any negative talk about yourself

Concentrate on appreciating and respecting what your body is doing for you

Set positive, practical and health-focused goals rather than just weight-loss goals

It’s good to admire beauty in others but don’t compare yourself to them

Keep reminding yourself that images in any media are unrealistic and unattainable

Maintain a top-ten list of things you like about yourself

Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin-deep

Look at yourself as a whole person

Surround yourself with positive people

Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person

Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body

Do something nice for yourself regularly

Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others

If you have any tips or ways to deal with negative self-talk so share them with us in the comment section below. In case you need more help or advice you can always chat with our experts or send an email to expert@teentalkindia.com

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