Dangerous New Weight-Loss Trend: ‘Sleeping Beauty Diet’

Missing breakfast after an occasional sleep-in is no big deal: after all, you can’t eat if you’re asleep. However, people have been using sleeping as a weight loss technique for a long time, and therein lies the problem. Some people are taking sleeping to extremes, and now the so-called “Sleeping Beauty Diet” is rising into prominence.

The Independent reported that the Sleeping Beauty Diet recommends people sleep for abnormally long periods of time, usually involving the taking of sedatives, just so people won’t eat.

Most people know how important getting a good night’s rest is to sustain good health and well-being, but the Sleeping Beauty Diet encourages people to take sleeping pills and sedatives in order to sleep up to 20 hours a day. Besides the fact that sleeping pills can be highly addictive, there is also the potential for overdose, so people must ask themselves if the risk is not too great.

It’s understood that women in pro-anorexia online forums have seized on this idea of the Sleeping Beauty Diet, where they share their extreme sleeping and fasting regimes.
One person wrote: “I just take some really strong pain killers, they usually dope me out and I’ll nap for hours. They kind of mess with your stomach and curb your hunger a bit so I do it all the time.” Another wrote: “I love sleeping to avoid food. It’s pretty easy for me because I’m tired ninety-nine percent of the time.”

One person wrote: “I just take some really strong pain killers, they usually dope me out and I’ll nap for hours. They kind of mess with your stomach and curb your hunger a bit so I do it all the time.” Another wrote: “I love sleeping to avoid food. It’s pretty easy for me because I’m tired ninety-nine percent of the time.”

“I just go ahead and fall asleep to avoid any possible binges and eating.”

Experts, like Dr. Tracey Wade from the Flinders University School of Psychology, are very clear that this type of so-called diet is very dangerous.

“If people have to rely on medications to produce sleep – particularly meds like benzodiazepines, which are addictive – it’s putting the person at risk of addiction. It’s not only getting the body to sleep more than it needs to; they’ll also have to use higher and higher dosage levels to get the desired effect.”

Of course, the obvious question here is how people can expect to live their lives if they’re sleeping 20 hours a day? As Dr. Wade noted, the Sleeping Beauty Diet takes extreme dieting to the “nth degree.”

“They literally can’t participate because they’re sleeping.”

Their inability to participate in life leads to increased social isolation, which has an inevitable impact on the person’s mood, which can lead to depression. Unfortunately, this can perpetuate the cycle, as depression can also trigger disordered eating.

“It sounds like it would actually just push people more firmly into the vicious cycle that the eating disorder creates.”

Dr. Wade said that the idea of opting out of life and staying in bed could well be attractive to people who are already depressed or struggling with an eating disorder.

“But it doesn’t talk about how you’ll manage the waking hours, where you’ll be very hungry and very disorientated with increasing levels of depression and nutritional deprivation.”

The Daily Mail reported that, on the Sleeping Beauty Diet, women are relying on increasingly high doses of sedatives to get the impact they’re looking for, which can leave people undernourished and feeling weak and disorientated.

In short, women following this diet are putting their health at serious risk.

People risking their health with the sleeping beauty diet abuse sleeping tablets to lose weight.
People risking their health with the sleeping beauty diet abuse sleeping tablets to lose weight. [Image by ViChizh/Shutterstock]

According to experts, research has linked sleeping pills to dementia, debilitating falls, heart attacks, and life-threatening pneumonia. In fact, it’s even believed that sleeping pills are as bad for health as smoking a packet of cigarettes a day.

Sleep researcher Shawn Youngstedt from Arizona State University told CNN that sleeping pills are extremely dangerous.

“Not to mention they cause infections, falling and dementia in the elderly, and they lose their effectiveness after a few weeks.”

Youngstedt noted that exercise is a much better alternative, being less expensive, infinitely healthier, and just as easy as sleeping. As an added bonus, those who exercise have a significantly lower risk of developing insomnia in the first place.

The sleeping beauty diet has people sleeping their lives away in an attempt to lose weight.
The sleeping beauty diet has people sleeping their lives away in an attempt to lose weight. [Image by ViChizh/Shutterstock]

According to Dr. Wade, people on this eating regime will become very hungry and disoriented, with increasing levels of depression and nutritional deprivation. And, she added, there’s no proof that more time spent asleep will result in weight loss because dieters will probably binge eat when they’re awake.

Keele University researchers discovered last August that people who rely on drugs to get a good night’s sleep are at double the risk of fracture. And a University of Washington study in 2015 discovered a disturbing link between sleeping tablets and dementia: It’s believed the drugs block a chemical messenger lacking in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2014, Chinese scientists warned that sleeping tablets increase the risk of heart attacks by up to 50 percent; while in a 2012 study, researchers from Nottingham University discovered that sleeping pills increase the risk of both contracting and dying from pneumonia.

The Sleeping Beauty Diet is definitely not recommended – the risks are just too great.

[Featured Image by rongyiquan/Shutterstock]

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