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Health Study Finds Connection Between Women's Sleep Troubles, Weight Control Problems

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Have you been getting enough sleep lately? If the answer is no, you're probably also having trouble losing weight.

Knowing how and why sleep and weight are connected can help you make some better, healthier choices that can help you control your weight.

America has a weight problem and it's growing. The latest numbers show that more than two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.

Like so many people, Suzie Soto has been on a weight-loss see-saw for years.

"I've tried pills," she said. "Shakes and everything else and just nothing worked."

Then there's the other public health problem facing Americans.

Bibi Sadick and Patreece Pinckney are office workers in Great Neck, full-time moms and sleep-deprived.

"I find it difficult to fall asleep because you are trying to put the day to bed. You're trying to make sure you that you've accomplished everything you needed to at the end of day," Sadick said.

It turns out, those sleep problems and weight problems are connected.

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that women who either didn't get enough sleep or had poor sleep quality consumed 500-800 more calories a day in sugary and processed foods.

"You have no impulse control and increased cravings for junk food," said Dr. Carol Ash, a sleep specialist with RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey.

Ash told CBS This Morning that when poor sleep leads to poor food choices, it becomes a vicious cycle.

"When you don't sleep well at night, it elevates hormones that increase your appetite, and also, the more sugary foods you eat, it actually triggers insomnia," Ash said.

The problem is more serious than sleep and weight. Poor sleep that leads to obesity also increases the risk for Type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease.

Ash says if you get hungry around bedtime, go for a protein snack like yogurt or whole wheat crackers with a little turkey. Just avoid sugary or high-fat snacks.

Also, avoid alcohol for at least three hours before bedtime. It may put you to sleep, but it's stimulating later on and will make for restless sleep.

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