As if you needed another reason to get more sleep.  A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Chicago directly linked sleep loss to a decline in the cells’ ability to react to the hormone insulin.

According to the study, seven people slept for 8.5 hours four nights in a row. Four weeks later, researchers repeated the process, but shortened each night’s sleep to a mere 4.5 hours. After less sleep, participants’ whole-body insulin sensitivity was down by an average of 16 percent.

What does it all mean?  In the short term, a decrease of fat cells’ insulin sensitivity can lessen the production of the hormone leptin, which goes to the brain and could both make you hungrier and heavier.

Over the long term, continually low insulin sensitivity could lead to total-body resistance to insulin and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Simply getting the right amount of sleep can be equally as important as a well balanced diet and exercise in achieving weight loss goals.  The study recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

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