The Sleep Diet – fact or fad?

Dream of losing weight? Apparently you can do just that and it’ll work.

Last week the founder of The Sleep Diet, Dr Carmel Harrington, visited the University of Canberra for a public lecture on how you can sleep your way skinny.

Dr Carmel Harrington is a sleep scientist with degrees coming out of her ears, and is a big advocator for sleeping for health. Harrington firmly believes that not getting enough sleep can lead to adverse health outcomes like lifestyle diseases including heart problems, diabetes and obesity.

So Harrington developed The Sleep Diet. “Sleep and realise your dreams” she says.
The Sleep Diet_CVR_SI.indd

Harrington brings up some great points on why sleeping is vital for health. She makes me really consider my sleeping patterns and I now plan to regularly get a good night’s sleep so I can function properly throughout the day.

But the topic of selling sleep as something associated with weight loss made me curious on the research out there.

So I took to some published journal articles for some answers.

One study that was conducted in 2006 found that shorter sleep duration is associated with small long-term increases in weight gain. The study compared a 5 hour or less sleep to 7 hour per night sleep over a 16 year period in female participants. Is the lack of sleep directly causing the weight gain? Or could the results just be the way that they are because people who only sleep 5 hours per night are too tired to go out, exercise and make the most of their day?

While it has been shown that a good night’s sleep is great for health, is sleeping a few more hours really the answer to the obesity epidemic?

A fantastic article by Angela Spivey in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests that yes, there is evidence showing that lack of sleep or sleeping altered patterns can be a risk factor for weight gain. But it’s not actually certain whether short amounts of sleeping causes one to become overweight.

And what you’ll find is that many research studies that look at sleep and weight loss or weight gain say that “further research is needed” to make sound conclusions on the topic.

So yes, poor sleeping patterns and short sleep times over a long period of time may not necessarily help someone maintain a healthy body weight. The book Dr Carmel Harrington has written is a real eye opener for making sure we all get sufficient shut-eye. But is it the right message to sell a book that at first glance tells you that by sleeping, you can lose weight?

Be aware that this book is not an excuse to lie in bed all day and night, and call yourself healthy.

The Sleep Diet has taught me that enough sleep time is extremely important for restoring my body overnight and getting me ready for the following day.

Get your sleep, enjoy your sleep, and make it a darn good sleep!

But remember that in order to stay healthy we should also be eating a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain carbohydrates, low fat dairy and protein-rich food sources.

Also get outside, exercise and be an active person.
beauty sleep final

What are your thoughts on The Sleep Diet?

– Jenna


2 thoughts on “The Sleep Diet – fact or fad?

  1. Thanks for sharing this information.

    I read the journal articles you mention when I was writing an article about sleep deprivation and obesity recently, but I hadn’t come across the “Sleep Diet” book before.

    People have asked me where they can get more information on this, and the articles are heavy going for most, so this book should do the job.

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