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Cal South E-News | May 2012 NUTRITION EDUCATION

May 22, 2012

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NUTRITION EDUCATION
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Nancy Clark MS RD

Sleep, Weight and Performance: Don't Skimp on the ZZZZZs
By Nancy Clark MS RD

Sleep is a biological necessity. Don't skimp!

Sleep is restorative and is needed to align circadian rhythms. Sleep deprivation erodes well being. Speaking at the SCAN Sports Nutrition Conference (Baltimore, April, 2012), Allison Weiss BS reported that Americans are sleeping less than they used to sleep:

--Nearly 30% of adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per day.

--80% of teens report getting less than the recommended nine hours of sleep.

This lack of sleep is having detrimental effects on our health.

Obesity and sleep deprivation are concurrent issues; sleep seems to be a risk factor for obesity. One in four post-menopausal women has problems sleeping; is this linked to mid-life weight gain? When people are tired, grehlin -- the hormone that makes us feel hungry -- becomes active and we become hungrier and can easily overeat.

Sleep deprivation is also associated with development of Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. People younger than 60 years who sleep less than five hours a night have a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Athletes who travel through time zones are at high risk for sleep deprivation. This can impact performance by disrupting the circadian rhythms and causing undue fatigue and reduced motivation. Because mental alertness enhances athletic performance, low motivation can be detrimental to performance. On the other hand, extending sleep can enhance performance. A study with basketball players indicates they shot more baskets and completed more free throws when they were well rested (as opposed to sleep deprived).

Make sleep a priority!

For more information: Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook has chapters on protein, carbohydrate, and weigh loss (available at www.nancyclarkrd.com)

About the Author:

Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD is an internationally known sports nutritionist and nutrition author. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in nutrition for exercise, health and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD). Check out her website at www.nancyclarkrd.com.

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