Women's Heart Health

19 Weight-Loss Secrets From Around the World

Nutritionists and Reader's Digest editors divulge the top diet tricks of the French, Brazilians, and more.
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Japan

Perfect the power nap

In this on-the-go country, many people take time for a daily 20- to 30-minute nap, says James Maas, PhD, a sleep researcher at Cornell University and the author of Power Sleep.

There's increasing evidence that chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of weight gain. Maas blames two hormones: leptin, which helps the brain sense when you're full, and ghrelin, which triggers hunger. The less sleep you get, the lower your leptin levels-and the higher your ghrelin. "Many people think they're hungry when they're actually sleepy," Maas says. "Instead of a snack, they need some shut-eye."

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