Fit Club: Lack of sleep making you fat?

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Not getting enough zzz?? You may be putting your self at risk for future weight gain. Peter Brodhead with Brighter Day Natural Foods in Savannah says eating healthy and regular exercise are critical components for weight control, but an overlooked ingredient to successful weight control is a good night's sleep.

"One of the big things that has come out lately is the issue of weight loss and sleep and finding that when people don't get enough sleep, if they sleep 6 hours or less often they will consume hundreds of more calories per day," said Brodhead. "They have automatic craving for carbohydrates."

According to a recent sleep survey, the average American gets right around 6.2 hours per night. Sleep loss could be part of the reason college students, new parents and shift workers experience weight gain.

"They also found metabolically it helps the whole endocrine system," said Brodhead. "By regulating sleep, you can regulate your weight."

In addition to this, without this recovery time, you're workouts will suffer and it further limits your fat loss.

"You want to get enough rest to let the body release growth hormones, which it does naturally when you reach deep stages of sleep and growth hormone helps immune system restore," said Brodhead. "It puts body in anabolic state so you can build your muscle back and recoup better, have better energy levels and sports performance."

So make sure you're getting at least 6 hours of sleep each night. You are going to feel better, be much stronger when it comes to battling those food cravings, and have more energy during your exercise sessions.

Are stress and lack of sleep making you fat and affecting your health?

Could be but there is help. Brighter Day Natural Foods Market is sponsoring a free lecture that will explore the link between stress, lack of sleep and weight management on Wednesday at the Coastal Georgia Center located at 305 Fahm street starting at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.