Lose Weight and Live Longer… By Sleeping!

By Dr Ernst
July 1, 2016

USA Today reports that people who are sleep-deprived eat close to 300 calories a day more than they do when they are well-rested, with ice cream being the food of choice when tired. You probably know exactly what this feels like. It’s late, dinner was hours ago. You’re feeling peckish. How about some ice cream?

It’s no surprise, then, when an additional study also showed that you can double your chances of reaching your target weight if you get between 6-8 hours of sleep (AKA – average at least 7 hours/ night), which has been proven to be the target sleep amount. According to The Telegraph, the study found that people trying to lose at least 10 pounds were more likely to reach their goal if they had lower stress levels and got the right amount of sleep.

The combination of high stress and a lack of sleep likely leads to altered metabolism, because when you’re sleep-deprived, leptin (the hormone that signals satiety or fullness) falls, while ghrelin (which signals hunger) rises. This is the perfect hormone cocktail for weight gain and health problems. Some experts even suggest that the correct amount of sleep is equivalent in value to proper nutrition and regular exercise when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and a healthy weight.

By not getting a good night’s rest, you are putting yourself at risk for developing high blood sugar levels, accelerated aging, high blood pressure, depression, and an increased risk of cancer.

Recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 35 percent of Americans reported getting less than seven hours of sleep on average for 24 hours. A CDC analysis found that people who slept fewer than seven hours were more likely to report unintentionally falling asleep during the day, even including nodding off or falling asleep while driving. This is easily one of the most significant and potentially deadly risks of too little sleep, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year.


These factors can range from being addicted to late-night reality TV to stress to taking lousy care of yourself to health issues. Ultimately the conclusion is that the average person’s life is not in control. For those who just have “trouble sleeping” – there are numerous things you can do to sleep better.

  • Set a bedtime – Make it fixed. There are exceptions, of course, but 5 or 6 days a week, you DO NOT stay up later.
  • Reading – Why not learn while encouraging health.
  • Shutting off the TV an hour before bed – This, I believe, is one of the biggest culprits. If you stay up wanting to finish a movie or show, and with the nature of Netflix and Hulu, you might think several times, “Oh, just one more episode.” No. Turn it off.
  • Cover your windows to achieve complete darkness
  • Cool the bedroom to 70 degrees or lower – we sleep better and deeper in cooler temperatures. Reading this in the middle of a North Carolina summer, you know what I’m talking about.


If you are waking up tired and lethargic, try these little methods to improve sleep quality because something as little as a half an hour more of sleep could prove beneficial to your health.

However, the likely causes are stress, a destructive lifestyle, toxicity, neurological issues, a lack of fitness, no real well-formulated time management strategy, and underlying health conditions that arise as a result of all or part of the above.

To start sleeping and start living, it’s going to be more than a cool pillow, a bottle of Ambien, or a bottle of wine for that matter. The latter two only damage your health further. Getting your mind and your health under control is a complex matter. That’s why we suggest you stay up to date with AskDrErnst by subscribing to our newsletter, going to our events, asking questions, or scheduling an appointment. Don’t just be flapping in the wind.

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