One challenging, yet fun, part of being a registered dietitian is wearing many hats - an RD has to worry about more than just food! There is one area I often explore with clients to make sure I'm approaching successful weight loss from all angles. It's certainly a step outside my area of expertise, but a few simple questions help me assess a person's daily sleep pattern.

  • -Whenyou sleep,
  • -How muchyou sleep, and
  • -How wellyou sleep

are all

We've known for a long time now that sleep can affect body weight, but recent research unveiled more trouble can come from restless nights. Dr. Zhijie Yu, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, found elevated blood sugar in children with less than optimal sleep patterns. Yu's team measured sleep duration and blood sugar levels in

  • 619 obese and 617 non-obese children
  • Ages 3 to 6 years, and
  • Free of diabetes or blood sugar problems

Sleep Duration
9 or 10 hours 11+ hours
Obese 37% 16%
Non-obese 43% 20%

More simply put, elevated blood sugar levels appeared over 2 times more often in the shorter-sleeping obese kids.

In other research, which analyzed results from 36 sleep-related studies, findings concluded that for children short sleep time "strongly and consistently associated with concurrent and future obesity." Results from three longitudinal studies in adults found a positive association between short sleep duration and future weight. This relationship appeared to wane with age.

Bottom line? Get your beauty rest!

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.