The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep

The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep


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The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep by Michael Breus, Debra Fulghum Bruce

Losing weight while you sleep may sound too good to be true, but in fact the connection between inadequate sleep and weight gain (among a host of other negative medical results) has long been recognized by medical researchers. Turning this equation on its head, clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus shows that a good night's sleep will actually enable you to lose weight, especially if you have been chronically sleep deprived.

The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan is designed to help any woman who has been frustrated by her inability to shed weight by giving her the tools to overcome the stress, poor habits, and environmental challenges that stand between her and adequate rest. Sleep deprivation is a frustrating reality for many women faced with chronic stress or hormonal changes—and the fatigue, moodiness, and weight gain that come with it might just be the tip of the iceberg. While helping thousands of women implement simple health and lifestyle changes to improve the quality and the quantity of their slumber, Dr. Breus has witnessed not only an upsurge in their energy levels and a diminishing of myriad health concerns, but also significant weight loss achieved without restrictive dieting or increased amounts of exercise.

In The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan, Dr. Breus delves into the science behind this sleep–weight-loss connection, explaining exactly how sleep boosts your metabolism, ignites fat burn, and decreases cravings and overall appetite, and he presents a realistic action plan to help you get your best sleep—and your best body—possible. He shows how you can overcome your personal sleep obstacles with a slumber-friendly evening routine, stress management techniques—even recipes for healthy meals and snacks—to help you fall asleep more easily.

If you are ready to stop tossing and turning night after night, if you are done downing coffee to conquer nagging fatigue, and if you have bounced from one diet to another in an effort to find one that really, finally helps you lose the pounds you want, The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan has the information, advice, and practical strategies you need to get deep, revitalizing sleep—and achieve a slimmer, healthier body in the process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609611330
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 05/10/2011
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

MICHAEL BREUS, PhD, D.ABSM, a.k.a. The Sleep Doctor™, is a clinical psychologist board certified in clinical sleep disorders. He is the sleep expert on WebMD and Sharecare and appears regularly on national television, including the Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and The Rachael Ray Show. He provides expert advice and guidance in leading national publications and Web sites like the Huffington Post. He lives in Scottsdale, AZ.

DEBRA F. BRUCE, PhD, is an award-winning medical writer who is the author of more than 80 health books and a senior editorial consultant for WebMD, Sharecare, AOL Health, and She lives in Atlanta.

Read an Excerpt

1 The Sleep/Weight Connection

If you're like most women with a few £ds to lose, you've probably tried just about everything to rid yourself of that unwanted I weight. Perhaps you've experimented with a low-carb or low-fat diet or an eating plan that severely restricts calories, or maybe you've amped up your fitness routine, and yet those unwanted £ds hang on stubbornly. But there's one thing I bet you haven't tried in your battle of the bulge, and that is getting more sleep.

Think about it. How incredible would it be if the only change you had to make to your routine in order to drop 5, 10, or even more £ds was to get an extra hour of sleep? No more cabbage soup. No high-fiber wafers or extra Spin classes--just 1 more hour of restorative, restful sleep each and every day. Who in the world (including your doctor, by the way) would object to that?

But can sleep possibly be an effective diet aid? Can something so benign, so sustainable--so inexpensive!--with absolutely no unwanted side effects possibly get you the results that all the deprivation diets and long hours at the gym have failed to achieve? The research is clear and conclusive: Giving your body the rest it needs will enable you to lose weight even if you do not alter your diet or fitness routine. Furthermore, no matter how conscientious you are about what you eat and how active you are, a poor sleep pattern is likely to torpedo your good intentions and allow those extra £ds to creep onto your body and stay there!

I wrote The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan to help you understand your unique relationship with sleep and what good sleep can do to improve your weight, your health, and how you feel about yourself. I want you to learn ways to regain control in your nightly sleep battle or to simply make your good sleep even better so you can either achieve the healthy weight you want or prevent the gradual accumulation of fat around the waist that so inevitably seems to occur as we age.

Sleep Is the Missing Link

In my clinical practice, I treat hundreds of women who come to me with complaints of poor sleep and an inability to lose weight. Most women tell of having either difficulty sleeping (whether it's falling asleep or staying asleep) or poor-quality sleep.

My sleep patients also say, "You don't understand what I am going through, trying to lose weight. Nothing works," but I really do understand. As a clinical psychologist who is board certified in clinical sleep disorders, I have treated many women who have the same problem--an inability to sleep combined with an inability to make the scale budge, despite trying every diet--low carb, low fat, and low calorie.

The reality is that women face different situations in life that cause their weight gain--ranging from ongoing family or career stress to ignoring the importance of daily exercise to hormonal changes at midlife that pack on the £ds--and most will have a hard time reversing that weight gain. This can be frustrating, especially when you try to stick with a popular diet and exercise regimen that's "guaranteed" to bring success.

But I have discovered that there is a "missing link" in most trendy weight- loss diets and it has nothing to do with what you eat or how many miles you log on your treadmill each day. In fact, this missing link provides women of all ages with a tool for dealing with what the surgeon general calls "America's obesity crisis." That missing link is proper and adequate sleep.

After sorting through the ever-mounting stacks of scientific literature, I have identified a clear-cut connection between poor sleep and obesity. In a nutshell, both insufficient sleep and poor-quality sleep make your body want to store fat, not burn it! Moreover, I have discovered that the best way to decrease your weight is to increase good-quality sleep in conjunction with following a balanced weight-loss diet. And even without changing the food you eat or exercising vigorously, simply getting better sleep can help you lose weight or maintain a normal weight. In this book, I will teach you how to boost your metabolic rate, decrease your appetite, and lose weight simply by improving your sleep quality and quantity.

Here's why. During deep sleep, your brain secretes a large amount of growth hormone, which tells your body how to break down fat for fuel. If you don't allow your body to get enough deep sleep, there won't be enough growth hormone to break down the fat that results when you take in extra calories. Instead, your body takes a shortcut and packs the added fat away in your thighs, belly, or butt--wherever you tend to gain weight. In addition, poor sleep appears to increase your appetite. And what an appetite you will have: You'll crave sweets, carbs, and high-fat foods.

As a researcher and a practicing sleep doctor, I use both scientific data and information from my patients to help me develop therapies for the people who seek treatment at my sleep clinic. No matter how many diets my patients have tried (and failed at) in the past, I find that they won't lose the extra weight and keep it off until they relearn how to get better sleep.

I know what you're thinking: Between kids, career, and commitments, who really has time for more sleep? For most women, there's always one more thing to do--one more lunch to make, one more client to e-mail, one more problem to worry about. All too often, sleep becomes the last priority on your to-do list. But if sleep becomes a hit-or-miss proposition for you, it's more than likely that the eventual result will be a gradual-- potentially permanent--weight gain.

There is no doubt that consistently getting a good night's sleep is a familiar battle in our society today. Perhaps you know from experience how a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your energy level and performance. The problem arises when you get inadequate sleep day after day. You will not only experience a lack of energy and an inability to focus during the day, but also start to notice that your waistband is snugger, your jeans feel tighter, and the number on the bathroom scale is inching higher. Believe me when I say that these occurrences are no coincidence! Recent research has found that people who sleep less have a slower metabolic rate (the speed at which your body burns calories and the rate that we all want to raise!). Metabolism is the body's process for turning calories into energy, and it varies at different sleep stages. For instance, REM is the sleep stage during which metabolism is the highest. If you get less sleep, you get less REM sleep, too. This sets the stage for eating the wrong foods, eating too much food, and eating at the wrong time of day (or night).

Good Sleep Is Essential--Every Night

You know that even occasional sleep problems make a normal day more stressful and less productive. That's because your body and mind need consistent, restful sleep to function optimally. Remember, sleep is not a luxury or a treat, like splurging on dessert. Sleep is a necessary physiological function that keeps you alive. Let's take a look at how missing just 1 night of shut-eye affects your looks, your mind, and your health.

. Your skin looks pasty, your eyes get puffy, and poor hydration makes your under-eye circles more pronounced. . Your prefrontal cortex shuts down. This is the part of your brain that controls logical reasoning and the "fight-or-flight" response. You instantly become a poor decision maker. As a result, your choices of foods lean toward comfort foods (i.e., high carbs and high fat) to increase your level of serotonin (the calming hormone), and you're apt to skip the gym because of fatigue. . Your insulin production increases and your body starts to store fat more easily. Over time, this can lead to serious illnesses such as obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. . You have problems completing tasks, whether simple or complex. . Your ability to speak and remember diminishes as your brain is depleted of its ability to consolidate memories. . You become irritable, possibly even irrational. . You have difficulty focusing and concentrating. . Your muscles ache, making movement difficult.

Chances are, you recognize most of these symptoms. But now imagine weeks to months of poor sleep and how this can lead to premature aging, weight gain, and even a larger abdomen. I see the following problems almost daily in my female patients.

Poor Complexion and Bad Hair

Poor sleep can make you look older. You can see the effects of sleep loss when you look in your bathroom mirror in the morning. Lack of sleep can make your skin look swollen and ashen and can accentuate the deep reddish blue color under your eyes (dark circles). In addition, because sleep deprivation leads to poor circulation (circulation is how hair and skin get their nutrients), poor sleep is linked to facial wrinkles and thinning hair.


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The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Robert_Ziltzer_MD More than 1 year ago
Every day I treat patients who want to lose weight, and wonder why they have difficulty being successful when they are only getting 4 hours of sleep each night. Dr. Breus explains superbly the scientific connection between sleep deprivation and obesity, and what to do about it. When you consider that SLEEP IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS DIET AND EXERCISE in weight loss, you make getting more sleep a priority. The book reviews all of the scientific literature in easy to understand terms, so there is no question why you should be getting more sleep. This information helps those who choose to stay up late and don't consider the consequences. What about those who want to sleep more but either can't get to sleep or awaken during the night? Dr. Breus reviews the reasons why you might be having difficulty, and gives easy to use strategies depending upon your specific sleep problem. The tools are easy to use, and highly effective. I have recommended this to many patients at Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, and have found the advise to be invaluable.