Wake up Photo by Sascha WenningerIf you’re feeling more tired than usual these days, you can blame the sun. Long summer days can interfere with sleep patterns because our natural circadian rhythms tell us to rise with the sun and rest in the evening. Sleep deprivation is nothing new to us, though, according to the Centers for Disease Control 40 percent of the American workforce is sleep deprived, getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night.

Our cultural lack of sufficient sleep does more than just keep Starbucks in business; it may be contributing to our ever-growing waistline. According to a study out of Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation increases your risk for obesity.

I spoke with Lauren Hale, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine in the public health program at Stony Brook University and board member of the National Sleep Foundation, about why sleep and obesity are so closely linked, and what we can do to create a healthier sleep habits… and not pack on sun-induced poundage.

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