Sleeping Beauty must have been a shapeless, ordinary-looking fat woman before she took off for her legendary trip to Dreamlandia.
But when she woke up after almost an eternity of sleep, ah … most of her fats were gone and her beauty awoken as well!
This new version of Sleeping Beauty would in all likelihood get the support of a group of researchers in France who found out recently that extra hours of sleep at night could be the key to shedding excess weight and fighting obesity.
“More sleep could be the ideal way of stabilizing weight or slimming,” said neuro-scientist Karine Spiegel, of France’s INSERM, a public organization dedicated to biological, medical and public health research.
While poor eating habits and lack of exercise clearly play a role in the global rise of obesity, recent data indicates that lack of sleep may also be a factor, and one that is often under-estimated.
Around 30 surveys carried out on wide population samples in seven countries have underlined a link between lack of sleep and excess weight or obesity in both children and adults, Spiegel said.
He said the increase in obesity in the US in the second half of the 20th century corresponded with a mounting decrease in sleep.
Two key hormones produced at night help regulate appetite, she explained, adding that these two hormones are called grehlin and leptin.
Grehlin makes people hungry, slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn body fat, while leptin, a protein hormone produced by fatty tissue, regulates fat storage.
“We have shown that less sleep (two four-hour nights) caused an 18 percent loss of appetite-cutting leptin and a 28 percent increase of appetite-causing grehlin,” she said.
Such hormonal changes made people hungry for foods heavy in fats and sugars such as chips, biscuits, cakes and peanuts, she added.
The sleep loss caused a 23 to 24 percent increase in hunger, Spiegel said, translating into an extra 350 to 500 kilocalories a day, “which for a young sedentary adult of normal weight could lead to a major amount of added weight.”
Now we know: The best weapon in the battle against the bulge is not the endless variety of exercise machines, not starving yourself through dieting, not popping in those pills and tablets, not going under the knife in a cosmetic surgeon’s clinic, no, not any of those.
You can exterminate all those unwanted fats by simply doing the Sleeping Beauty routine. Who knows? A young handsome prince might even be there in the morning to wake you with a kiss.