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Balancing exercise, sleep for weight-loss success
When thinking about fitness and getting in shape, people tend to focus on diet and exercise, but what about sleep? - photo by Jenniffer Michaelson
When thinking about fitness and getting in shape, people tend to focus on diet and exercise, but what about sleep? Burning calories is important when trying to slim down, but what's so wrong about burning the midnight oil?

Eric Lindley, an interventional cardiologist at McKay-Dee Hospital, said people who dont get enough sleep or the right kind of sleep good, deep, restorative sleep have a higher risk of being obese.

More and more evidence is stacking up to prove that sleep is a crucial part of fitness.

"We know that weight loss and weight gain is really intricately tied into both sleep and exercise," Lindley said.

A good nights rest not only maintains energy levels, but keeps muscles healthy and hormones balanced as well.

And for exercise: All the good hormones and endorphins that exercise releases can actually be an appetite suppressant," he said.

As people gain weight, Lindley said fat begins to take on a mind of its own.

It releases its own proteins, its own hormones and becomes incredibly lazy," he said.

The human body doesn't require a lot of energy to maintain fat, but when it comes to muscle Lindley says it takes a lot more calories to keep muscles alive and to keep muscle active than it does fat.

Lindley said adults need at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night and at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, no matter how physically demanding our jobs may be. The recommended 30 minutes can include activities like yard work, mowing the lawn, vacuuming and cleaning the house.

Lindley said exercise just makes you feel better about yourself, and people who feel better about themselves are less likely to eat unhealthy.

Another piece of advice: turn off the TV and stop checking emails at least 30-45 minutes before starting to falling asleep for a better night's rest. Getting a good night's sleep boosts workouts, and making time to exercise improves quality of sleep, creating quite a complementary relationship.