Sleep & Appetite

We all know the importance of a balanced eating plan and exercise to maintain a healthy weight and metabolism. But, many people forget that sleep plays a role that’s just as important and can have a big impact on your efforts to establish a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep Helps Your Body Respond to Hunger Signals

Hormones like ghrelin and leptin that help signal the brain when you’ve had enough to eat. When you get less than seven hours of sleep your body starts to slow down its responses to those signals. You may end up eating two or three helpings when you usually would have been full with only one. This slowed response contributes to weight gain. A full night’s rest with seven to eight hours of sleep helps you recognize when it’s time to stop eating.

Sleep and High Calorie, Low Nutrient Food Choices

If you feel like you crave chips and cookies when you’re tired, you’re probably right. Lack of sleep not only slows your response to hunger signals, but it also changes what foods you reach for when you feel hungry. The body naturally craves high fat, low nutrient foods when it’s tired.

 

When trying to understand why our bodies crave these foods, it’s easier to comprehend when you look at with an evolutionary perspective. At one point in history, if the body was tired, you needed to get more food to have the energy to survive. Today, when food is readily available, our bodies still respond as though our sleep deprivation was related to food scarcity, but it isn’t.

Getting adequate rest serves to regulate your appetite so that you can eat healthier.

How to Get Better Sleep

Everyone wants to get enough rest, but with a hectic lifestyle, it can be a challenge. It starts with understanding that a commitment to better sleep hygiene is a commitment to your long-term health. With enough sleep comes more energy, clarity of thinking, and better reasoning skills in addition to better eating habits.

There are lots of ways you can help yourself get the quality sleep hours you need to feel energized and ready for the day. Here are a few ways to improve your sleep:

  • Check your mattress. An old, lump mattress may make it difficult to stay asleep. A sore back or shoulders can lead to shifting and waking during the night. If you’ve had your bed for over eight years, and it’s starting to look more like a canoe than a fluffy cloud, it might be time to invest in something new. Research mattress types to find out the best one for you.

  • Exercise at the right time. Exercise is great for wearing out your body, which works well for getting better sleep. However, try to avoid exercising within four hours of your bedtime. That’s how long it takes for your body temperature to come down and endorphins to leave your system.

  • Eat right. A heavy meal eaten within two hours of bedtime can leave you feeling uncomfortable, making it difficult to fall asleep. If you eat responsibly and in moderation, you’ll be ready to hit the sack at the right time.

  • Create the right conditions. Your bedroom should be your sleeping sanctuary. Dim lighting, cool temperatures, and low or white noise can all create an atmosphere that’s conducive to restful sleep.

 

Questions? Reach out! We’d love to chat. 

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