Is less sleep making you fat?

If you’ve ever wondered why you keep gaining weight instead of losing it, despite working out and eating well, you might want to look at your length of sleep. Turns out, getting less than 8 hours of sleep can make us fat.  A study that came out this week says that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to choose junk food, possibly to compensate for the lack of shut-eye.
I just finished reading The Cortisol Connection by Shawn Talbott, which discusses the connection between stress and preventable diseases and obesity. The first part of the book features a quick quiz to see if you’re Type C, the type characterized by high stress and high cortisol. Apparently I’m a Type C, not due to high levels of stress, but because I don’t get enough sleep. On an average night, I’m lucky if I can squeeze in 6.5 hours. While this little sleep wasn’t a problem when I was in college partying as hard as I studied, as a 33-year old mom with a full time job and home demands, not sleeping sucks. And it’s increasing my chances for a host of preventable diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
So what’s a girl to do? The experts tell me I should get to bed earlier, but that’s just not possible most nights. Other experts say to take a nap during the day, which is possible on days that my kiddo is pooped out from swimming, but other days not so much. I know that many moms don’t follow the advice of sleeping when the baby sleeps. I remember in the first few weeks of motherhood, I used baby’s nap time to get the house work done, express milk, read and get some “me” time. I’ve since wised up (if anyone is offended by dirty dishes and piled up laundry, I’ll show you where we keep the cleaning supplies and you can get to work. After all I don’t want to offend anyone.). Instead I hope that when I get home from work, the baby is ready to take his nap so that I can take one, too. And if he’s not ready, I put him in baby prison (a.k.a., the Pack ‘n’ Play) for 10 minutes or so with a few of his toys and a bottle filled with water. Mother of the Year? No, but at least I’ll be a better rested one.
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