Modern life if filled with unimaginable conveniences. Twenty-four hour cable television, connected computers, cell-phones, and even the modern flourescent light.  They are all conspiring to keep you from getting a good night sleep.

Despite all of the advances we’ve made in our modern machines, we have yet to find a way to make the body operate at maximum efficiency without adequate sleep.  And frankly, we’re not sure we’d want to!

With all the distractions of a modern world, and the demands on us during the day, more and more peole are starting to skimp on sleep as a way to get more done during each 24 hour period and our experts caution that that is a mistake.

“With the fitness-buffs I train, I run into it all of the time,” says trainer Jacobo Melandromo.  “They run into a tough stretch at the office or at home and instead of cutting back they just decide to get a little less sleep.  The problem is, that sleep-time is when your body is repairing itself and getting stronger.  Without it, you hurt your performance and put yourself at greater risk of injury.”

And it’s not just gym-rats that are putting themselves at risk.  Cognitive brain research has shown definitively in astronauts trained for mentally challenging missions that optimum performance is achieved on a full night’s sleep.  Anything less than 8 hours per 24 hour cycle will start to tax your mental resources and long term will reduce the efficiency with which you can recall ideas, organize thoughts, and master simple mental challenges.

optimum performance is achieved on a full night’s sleep.

So what does that all have to do with weight gain?  Well, in 2003 researchers in South Korea tested the effects of sleep deprivation on a group of rats in the laboratory and found that rats not allowed to get their full cycle’s rest were prone to weight gain 63% more frequently than rats allows to rest fully each day.

While the rats who were functioning on less sleep were burning more calories each day, their bodies were producing a hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol is a stress hormone and it’s part of the body’s natural defense system.  When the body senses stress it starts saving up resources — in this case calories in the form of overeating and storage of fat on the body.

So, it really goes to show that when Mum cautioned you to get your beauty sleep, she knew what she was talking about!