University of Colorado Boulder researchers recently released a study showing that sleeping only five hours a night and having unlimited access to food can cause people to gain almost two pounds of weight a week. The study suggests that getting more sleep could help curtail the obesity epidemic.
“I don’t think extra sleep by itself is going to lead to weight loss,” said Kenneth Wright, director of the university’s Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory, which led the study. “Problems with weight gain and obesity are much more complex than that. But I think it could help. If we can incorporate healthy sleep into weight-loss and weight-maintenance programs, our findings suggest that it may assist people to obtain a healthier weight.”
The researchers found that staying awake longer requires more energy; however, the quantity of food consumed by the study participants offsets the extra calories burned.
“Just getting less sleep, by itself, is not going to lead to weight gain,” Wright said. “But when people get insufficient sleep, it leads them to eat more than they actually need.”
Meeting professionals are a ripe workforce for insufficient sleep. Planning and supplying meetings and events can tax even the most healthy individual. There are ways, though, you can keep your body healthy and your well-being in shape.
“For me, a hotel with a 24-hour gym is a must,” said Charles Massey, CMP, founder and CEO of SYNAXIS Meetings & Events. “On site and when travelling on a ‘regular’ business trip (whatever that is) I try to get at least 30 minutes worth of cardio plus some stretches in every morning. Some mornings, that might require getting up at 4 a.m.”
Massey says hydration is key to keeping healthy.
“I also make sure to drink lots of water, especially when I’m going to be walking several miles each day in a convention center or hotel,” he said. “In addition, I make sure to pack lots of EmergenC and Berocca (water soluble vitamin B-complex) and mix it with my water and also keep it handy for when I ‘crash’ in the afternoon. It’s much better than caffeine (although I do get plenty of that in the morning, albeit with green tea).”
And then there’s the sleep component.
“Get sufficient sleep (which for me is 5 hours) and take breaks when you can,” Massey said. “Luckily our onsite teams are ‘cross trained’ so we can cover for each other when one of us needs to take a break. And don’t over do it with alcohol (often easier said than done in our industry). Know your limitations. For me, I know that I am the early bird and some of my colleagues are night owls, so we schedule ourselves onsite accordingly.”
Massey is great at keeping healthy on the road. Are you? How do you stay healthy while planning and producing meetings and events? Please let us know your tips in the comments.