Are you sleeping enough? A lack of shut-eye might just be the thing keeping you from reaching your health and wellness goals.
The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Get the right amount and you may find it easier to control your hunger and make nutritious choices. A study by Dr. Sanjay Patel, at Case Western Reserve University, found that those who slept 5 hours or less a night were nearly a third more likely to gain 30 pounds or more than women who slept 7 hours per night.
There are several factors that come into play here. The first is that sleep deprivation leads our bodies to actually change the way we regulate our appetite, which can cause us to crave more food. Additionally, tiredness decreases the likelihood of being active throughout the day. Sleep deprivation can also change your metabolic processing speed, slowing down how many calories you burn just doing basic daily activities.
Adequate sleep is linked to the regulation of two hormones – ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger while leptin suppresses it. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in ghrelin and a drop in leptin making you feel hungry and less satisfied throughout the day. Research also suggests that insufficient sleep promotes cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods so the combination of lack of sleep, increased appetite and lower energy to exercise all amount to a less than ideal situation!
How can you tell if you’re getting enough sleep? Listen to your body. Are you sleepy even after you’ve had a cup of coffee? Are you sluggish before lunchtime even though you’ve had a nutritious breakfast? Most Fitbit trackers can monitor your sleep and let you know when you could use a few more zzz’s.
Starting a new habit is difficult, but this one is worth it! Try powering down 30 minutes earlier tonight and each day this week. Before you know it, you will be sleeping longer and feeling more energized in no time. You’ll be glad you did.
What are some of your remedies for making sleep a priority? Join the conversation below!
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.