Health Alert: Dream diet

NATIONAL (NBC) - We all wish losing weight could be as easy as closing our eyes. Well, that idea may not be as far-fetched as you think. A new study shows sleeping might just melt your pounds away.

So if you dream of loosing weight overnight, then get more of the right kind of sleep.

Doctor Jose Loredo at UCSD Sleep Medicine Center says, "Those people who slept six hours or less tended to be more obese or more overweight."

Doctor Loredo and other prominent researchers around the country have discovered two hormones, released while you sleep, regulate your hunger and control your appetite after you wake up.

First is grhelin.

Dr. Loredo explains, "Grhelin is a hormone that is produced by the stomach and when somebody does not sleep long enough, and that can happen with just one single night of sleepiness, that grhelin hormone increases and increases your appetite."

The second hormone, made in your fat cells, is leptin.

"Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite or controls appetite and when someone doesn't sleep long enough, leptin tends to decrease," said Dr. Loredo.

So when you skimp on sleep, it's double trouble.

As your ghrelin hormone level rises it increases your hunger. At the same time, your leptin level drops, so there's not enough of it to control your appetite when you wake up.

Dr. Loredo says, "the end result when you don't sleep long enough or well enough, there's a tendency to wake up sleepy - but hungry!"

And it's not just the quantity of sleep, quality matters, too.

Dr. Loredo says, "People with sleep apnea or people with poor quality of sleep who are obese tend to have a harder time loosing weight."

Breathing devices can help cure sleep apnea and in turn help control weight gain.

The third reason you need your rest - sleep experts say lack of sleep tends to decrease your body temperature, so you're more likely to eat sweets and carbs to heat up your metabolism.

Still, your diet doesn't start in the kitchen, suggests Dr. Loredo, it begins in the bedroom.

"The recommendation duration is seven to eight hours of sleep a night."

Dr. Laredo says you still need to eat healthy, exercise and sleep between seven and eight hours a night to be fit.

Unfortunately, sleep alone won't shed all of your extra weight.

Posted by Bryce Mursch