PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - If you're dieting and exercising and still not losing weight another factor may be in play: your sleep habits.
"We all remember our mothers telling us to get enough beauty sleep, now scientists have confirmed that the benefits of sleep are more than skin deep," said Local 10's Dr. Ari Soffer.
A report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that even a short period of sleep deprivation can have a direct and harmful effect on fat cells.
"This latest study suggest that proper sleep plays an important role in preventing diseases such as diabetes and obesity and may be as important as diet and exercise, only much easier," said Soffer.
Soffer said the study found that over time, too little sleep plays havoc with fat cells which can lead to weight gain.
"For those who are already obese or already on a path to diabetes, not enough sleep might be really dangerous," said Soffer.
Soffer offered some ways to get a good nights sleep:
-Sleep in a cool environment; suggested temperature is around 68 degrees.
-Turn off all lights, including computers and TVs.
-Wear loose clothing; the less restrictive the better.
-Point your alarm clock away from you.
-Consider white noise machines if you can'b block out sound in your home.
-If you snore, see your doctor; you might have sleep apnea, a treatable condition.
"Be careful about turning to over the counter or prescription sleep aids. These drugs can have serious side effects and may be habit forming," said Soffer.
Soffer recommends finding natural ways to relax before bed including gentle stretching, deep breathing, or drinking a cup of chamomile tea.
How much sleep do you need?
"School age children need around 10 hours per night. A recent study showed that children that get an extra 27 minutes of sleep per night did better overall in school than those who didn't," said Soffer.
In general, most young adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
"As we age, the need for sleep decreases slightly, to about 7 to 8 hours a night," said Soffer.
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