A solid night’s rest is essential for more than one reason. By clocking those seven to nine hours of sleep, you give your body time to repair itself. This allows you to remain mentally sharp, reduce your stress levels, and boosts your productivity. However, when you have poor sleep habits, your productivity decreases, your immune system becomes weaker, and your eating habits change for the worse.
We’ll discuss how lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy eating habits, and what to do to fix this situation.
The Circadian Rhythm
A major part of understanding how your sleeping patterns affect your appetite and how you process food lies in understanding how the body clock — or circadian rhythm — works. Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a 24-hour-cycle of light and dark. A good example of what occurs after you desynchronize your body clock is jet lag.
In addition to determining your energy levels, your mood, and sleep, the circadian rhythm is also actively involved in appetite regulation and food procession. Consequently, when your body clock and sleep are disrupted, you become susceptible to weight gain, and type-2 diabetes. Let us look at how that happens.
Research shows that lack of sleep has a similar impact to your blood-sugar management ability as with someone who is suffering from diabetes. As such, sleep-deprived people will experience the high blood-sugar levels that diabetics also experience. When sustained for a while, high blood-sugar levels can lead to a lot of health issues.
When you have trouble getting sleep, it is unlikely that you will wake up early enough to make a proper breakfast. You are, therefore, likely to grab a quick snack in the morning as it is much less of a hassle. However, most on-the-go snacks typically contain a high sugar content, which only adds to the already high blood sugar level. Over time, this may cause you to go into a state known as prediabetes, which is an indication that you might develop full-blown diabetes.
Nonetheless, this does not occur after just one night of lost sleep. It is as a result of a prolonged period of getting less than 7 hours of sleep.
Food Preferences and Appetite
Ironically, an individual might end up in that pre-diabetic state as a result of their brain craving the very things that are causing high blood-sugar levels: carbs. Those sweet snacks that looked like a good idea during breakfast and at 11 AM were not a random choice. Research reveals that sleep deprivation enhances the desire for high carb, high sugar meals by as much as 30 percent.
Moreover, when you are sleep deprived your leptin production drops by approximately 18 percent. Leptin is the hormone produced by the brain to signal that you are ‘full’ or satisfied. Furthermore, the production of Ghrelin increases by up to 28 percent. Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach that sends hunger signals. Additionally, it has been shown that one night of sleep deprivation could increase the next day’s calorie intake by up to 22 percent.
To understand this scenario, imagine that you need about 2,000 calories daily so that you can maintain a healthy weight. What would happen if you abruptly reduced this by 500 calories? You would be pretty hungry. This is exactly what happens to your hunger hormones when you do not get enough sleep.
What is likely to happen next is akin to binge-eating after being on a diet. You will be hungrier, but not deriving a lot of satisfaction from the food. The reason behind this is that sleep deprivation also inhibits the effects of PYY, the hormone that is responsible for regulating food intake.
You can now understand why sugary snacks are usually so tempting when you have not had enough sleep. Sleep deprivation usually confuses your brain’s food-reward and inhibition mechanisms. This leads you to overcompensate above your energy needs, and having a preference for high carb, high sugar meals.
How do you fix this?
When looking to fix your sleeping habits, and consequently your eating habits, consider doing the following:
- Stick to a schedule
The human body prefers routine, and thus works best under one. Therefore, instead of going to sleep at different times each night, designate a certain time that you will be going to bed, and stick to it. After a few nights of going to bed at that particular time, your body will take notice and will start doing it instinctually. You will find yourself getting drowsy whenever that time reaches. The key, however, is to stick to that routine.
- No Stimulants Past Noon
Those extra cups of coffee are doing more harm than good, especially if you have sleeping problems. Caffeine typically stays in your system for a long time before it is flushed out. Therefore, by continuously sipping coffee throughout the day, you will just be compounding its effects. It will keep you alert longer, thus causing you to be awake when you should be sleeping.
- Screen time
Moreover, you should also avoid staring at your phone or laptop screen in the hours leading to your sleeping time. The engaging nature of these devices and the blue-light from emitted by them stimulates your brain so much that it does not realize that it is time to sleep.
One of the primary reasons your body needs sleep is because that is when it gets to repair the damage done to it throughout the day. However, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your body does not have the urgent need to repair itself so the brain may try to stay awake for longer. Therefore, an active lifestyle will ensure that you have no problems falling asleep as your body will be in dire need of it.
- Get a good mattress
You will spend a one-third of your life sleeping. As such, the place where you put your body to rest should be able to facilitate a good sleeping experience. However, most people do not know how the quality of a mattress affects their sleep. After lying on a part of your body for a long time, your weight inhibits effective blood flow, which deprives other areas of oxygen and nutrients. Your nerve cells then send impulses to your brain asking it to roll you over. While rolling over rectifies that situation, it also interrupts your sleep.
A good mattress reduces these pressure points so that you do not have to constantly roll over. This comfort allows you to get a good night’s sleep. Nevertheless, we all have different requirements, and that is why you should visit a mattress store so you can get the right mattress for you.
Sleeping habits affect our eating habits; that much is clear. By taking appropriate measures to ensure that we get adequate sleep, we will also rectify our other bad habits. Our beds typically determine our sleep experience. As such, it is important to invest in a mattress solution that will offer you comfort. For more information about how you can improve your sleep, call Mattressville on (888) 841 0905 or contact us here.