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We all know about beauty rest but did you know about thinness slumber? Getting those zzzs is another important piece of the weight loss puzzle.

Your carbohydrate addiction may be more the result of your sleeping patterns rather than your lack of willpower.

Have you ever noticed that after a night with little sleep, you wake up ravenously hungry and want to devour everything in sight? Why? Because your lack of sleep actually triggers food cravings.

An expanding body of scientific evidence has shown the less sleep you get, the more cravings you have, the more calories you eat, the more belly fat you have and the higher your body mass index (BMI).

One study found that sleep-deprived people eat more carbohydrates than their more well rested compatriots. Those with four hours of sleep were more likely to choose candy, cakes and cookies over fruit, vegetables or dairy products. It was also found their ability to process glucose (sugar) in the blood had declined—in some cases to the level of diabetics.

The researchers looked at two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, that are regulated by sleep and influence proper appetite. Leptin lets the brain know when you are full and ghrelin sends the message of hunger. When ghrelin was measured in the four-hour-night sleep group, the ratio of ghrelin jumped 71 percent, compared to when they were sleeping a full ten hours. No wonder they felt hungry and craved simple carbohydrates. Their hunger hormone was switched on.

Since the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are similar, adults sometimes confuse them. That’s when people tend to eat when they’re really feeling tired. Fatigue is often misinterpreted as hunger.

The Nurses’ Health Study followed more than 68,000 women for 16 years. Their weight, sleep habits and diet were monitored. At the start of the study, all of the women were healthy and none were obese. By the end of the study, women who slept five hours a night were 32 percent more likely to experience major weight gain — defined as an increase of 33 pounds or more — and 15 percent more likely to become obese, compared with women who slept seven hours. And women who slept for six hours were 12 percent more likely to experience major weight gain and six percent more likely to become obese over the study period, compared with women who slept seven hours a night.

Similar results have been reinforced from other studies, For example, researchers at the University of Warwick, UK reviewed data from more than 28,000 children and more than 15,000 adults. They found that sleep deprivation almost doubles the risk of obesity for children and adults.

Brain scans of people who get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night show that they have lower activity in the prefrontal cortex which is the area of the brain involved in impulse control, planning, judgment, and follow-though. Decreased activity in this part leads to greater impulsiveness, and more self-defeating decisions. It also made it much more difficult to successfully stick to any plan, especially a weight loss program.

The relationship between obesity and sleep in not just an adult problem. Since 1992, 13 studies of more than 45,000 children have supported the inverse relationship between hours of sleep and risk of obesity. As children sleep less, they are more at risk of becoming obese. Short sleep duration at age 30 months predicts obesity at age seven.

Less than seven hours of sleep may permanently impair the part of the brain called the hypothalamus that regulates both appetite and energy expenditure.

A Word About the Hypothalamus
The hypothalamus is located at the center of the brain, and is the interface between the central nervous system and the endocrine system. It controls many automatic functions of the body and coordinates metabolic activity throughout the 20 trillion cells that make up the human body. In addition it organizes and controls moods, cravings, sleep, endocrine function, hunger, appetite and food intake, most importantly, the hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls fat burning and energy expenditure.

In the 1940s, a brilliant English endocrinologist, Dr. ATW Simeons developed a revolutionary protocol to address the cause of the obesity problem. This new paradigm focused on reestablishing homeostasis to the hypothalamus, which he believed was dysfunctional in all overweight people. He created a unique protocol that reestablished a properly functioning hypothalamus and also helped people safely lose up to 1.1 pounds (.5 kilo) a day of toxic fat. To learn more about the Simeons’ protocol visit or

To support deep and regenerative sleep, the following natural approaches are helpful: melatonin, chamomile, valerian, kava kava, passionflower, hops, L-theanine, GABA, 5-http, B-complex, phosphatidylserine and magnesium. Be cautious: all prescription sleep medications have serious side effects.

Do You Have Fat Gut Flora?
It was once thought that we are what we eat. But, to be more accurate, we are what we digest and assimilate. And, the latest research now tells us that, to be even more correct, we are what digests and assimilates our food. It all has to do with the thriving population of the one hundred trillion life-promoting gut bacteria that take up residence within our digestive track from the moment of birth.

More than 99 percent of microbes living in our intestinal tract are a very diverse group of bacteria, numbering between 500 to 1,000 different species. In a healthy person they live in our gut in a balanced ecosystem with each species inhabiting its appropriate place. However, with the introduction of antibiotics, steroids, and birth control pills, that delicate balance is radically altered…and, so, is one’s health.

And now one more adverse health condition can be added to the list caused by an overgrowth of harmful gut flora — obesity.

There is a distinctive change in the gut microbial populations found in obese and lean human and mice. Obese mice have different microbes in their guts than lean mice. Obese humans have different gut microbes than lean (or even dieting) humans. There is a strong connection between what we eat, how much we eat, and the species of bacteria that inhabit our gut.

The bacteria in the gut of obese mice are more efficient in processing carbohydrates. Thus, obese mice get a bigger “bang for the chow” ingesting calories from food, which in lean mice, would normally go unprocessed. So, fat mice get even fatter.

Obese people have a distinctive mix of bacteria in their digestive systems that seem to also make them prone to gaining weight.

Obese people have more digestive microbes that are especially efficient at extracting calories from food. Also, the greater the proportion of these super-digesting organisms the more people gain weight. When scientists transplanted these bacteria from obese mice into lean mice, the thin animals start to get fatter.

There appears to be a causal link between obesity and the type of microflora that inhabit the gut. The difference in the structure of microbial ecology of our digestive tracks may create greater susceptibility to obesity.

Our Western diet, rich in fat and sugar, packs a double whammy to people’s expanding girth. As well as providing more calories than people can burn through exercise, junk food encourages the growth of the gut bacteria that process food more efficiently, adding further to this energy excess.

When mice with typically human gut bacteria were switched to a high-fat, high-sugar diet, lasting changes occurred in the microbes that promote weight and fat gain. This altered the way food and drugs were metabolized.

Scientists took mice raised in a germ-free environment, which had no native gut bacteria of there own, and transplanted human gut bacteria into their digestive tracks.

When these “humanized” mice were placed on a highfat, high-sugar diet designed to mimic those common in Western societies, the contents of their gut bacteria changed drastically—literally overnight. Switching from a low-fat, plant polysaccharide-rich diet to a high-fat, high-sugar Western diet shifted the structure of the gut microflora within a single day. The mice showed an increase in types of bacteria linked to obesity and also increased their body fat.

The researchers then transplanted microbes from the guts of these mice into other germ-free mice. These animals also put on weight, even when fed on a low-fat diet.

Another intriguing revelation has been the obesity-gut connection. When an organism is out of balance, the imbalance is reflected everywhere. Obese people have an altered gut flora, which predisposes them to being obese. Junk food diets alter healthy gut flora, resulting in more obese tendencies. Your food choices have an instantaneous effect on the balance of gut flora. Feed you gut healthy, nutritious food and you will be adding yet another successful piece to your weight loss puzzle. You can also add probiotic supplements to help support and enhance healthy gut flora.

Solving the Puzzle
With more than one billion overweight adults who are part of the global community and at least 300 million obese adults, the world is facing an unparalleled obesity epidemic.

To help rescue a world drowning in fat, it is necessary to embrace new paradigms. It is a problem that requires many new perspectives and an integrated approach.

Maintaining a healthy brain, insuring optimal vitamin D levels, committing to regenerative sleep and supporting the growth of healthy gut flora are some of the new pieces that are helping to solve the weight loss puzzle.

Sherrill Sellman, ND

Dr. Sellman is an international author, psychotherapist, women’s health advocate and seminar presenter. Through her books including Hormone Heresy—What Women Must Know About Their Hormones, lectures and seminars, she has empowered women all over the world to make more educated and informed choices about their health.

Sherrill's latest book Hemp Health Revolution explores the history of hemp and the latest research in the Hemp Extract world. Dr Sellman gives us the A to Z list of the many chronic illnesses or health conditions that have been proven to benefit from Hemp Extract.