Are you getting enough sleep ?

Did you get enough sleep last night? If not, it’s time to count some sheep, because research has uncovered a link between sleep and weight loss.

According to research, getting your Z’s may help you lose weight! A study presented by researchers from Laval University, Quebec, showed sleep may influence levels of leptin — a hormone produced by fat cells.

Leptin affects body weight regulation in the hypothalamus by suppressing appetite and burning fat stored in tissue. Additionally, the research suggested that there may be an “ideal sleep zone” that helps the body regulate its weight.

“This is a new and very exciting area of research which raises the possibility that lack of sleep may be an unrecognized and potentially modifiable risk factor for obesity,” explained Jean-Philippe Chaput, who conducted the study.

“Getting the optimal amount of sleep, along with modifications to diet and exercise may become an integral prevention and treatment strategy for weight management,” said Chaput.

Americans sleep one to two hours less per night than they did 40 years ago during which time obesity rates have increased, the researchers pointed out.

Previous studies have suggested the link between lack of sleep and leptin levels. Leptin has a direct impact on the development and retention of fatty tissues in the body.