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Recovering from CFS and Fibromyalgia Series

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Dear Reader,

Two studies done in our research center showed an average weight gain of 32 1/2 pounds in CFS and fibromyalgia. This occurred for many reasons, and we will discuss these, and help you lose the weight.

But can you actually lose weight by getting enough shuteye? Repeated studies show that this really is the case.

One of the reasons for the weight gain in fibromyalgia, and in the Western world in general? The inability to get deep sleep.

Inadequate sleep can occur for a number of reasons. Many Americans simply do not make enough time for adequate sleep. One hundred years ago, the average American was getting 9 hours of sleep a night. Anthropologists tell us that 5000 years ago, the average night's sleep was 11 to 12 hours a night. When the sun went down, it was dark, boring, and dangerous outside, so people went to bed. When the sun came up, they woke up. The average time from sunset to sunrise is 12 hours. The use of candles initially shortened sleep time. Then light bulbs were developed followed by radio, TV, computers, etc. We are now down to an average of six and one half to seven hours of sleep a night, and this is simply not adequate to allow proper tissue repair.

Some people get inadequate sleep because of poor sleep hygiene, often occurring because pain keeps them awake. For those with fibromyalgia however, their insomnia occurs because the sleep center in the brain (called the hypothalamus) is suppressed.

A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 58 percent of Americans had sleep difficulties. Those who slept less than six hours a night felt more stressed, angry, sad and tired than the people who got more sleep-and the average American is only getting 6 1/2 hours a night – a 30% drop from a century ago.

In addition to leaving you tired and achy, not getting enough sleep has also been shown to cause significant weight gain and premature aging. Why? Deep sleep is when we make the "fountain of youth hormone" called growth hormone. This hormone helps turn fat into muscle, and it is low in fibromyalgia. In addition, inadequate sleep causes marked changes in appetite regulating hormones.

For example, in one study looking at sleep restriction, there was an 18% decrease in the appetite suppressing hormone leptin, and a 28% increase in the appetite stimulating hormone, called ghrelin.  These were associated with a 24% increase in hunger and a 23% increase in appetite – especially for carbohydrates, which helped pack on the pounds. Other studies have shown an average 6 1/2 pound weight gain and a 30% higher risk of obesity in those who do not get enough sleep.

So sleep your way to skinny and young? Indeed, sleep does play an important role.  That’s why it’s called “getting your beauty sleep!”
This is easier said than done in fibromyalgia.

Love and blessings,
Dr. T

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