Craving sweet and starchy foods? A lack of sleep may be the cause.
There’s science behind it: If you sleep less than five hours a night, you have a 50% increased risk of obesity. What’s more, not getting enough sleep can prevent you from losing fat and instead result in losing good lean tissue.
It’s all because of two important hormones in your body that work together to support energy balance and weight management:
Ghrelin (stimulates appetite)
Leptin (decreases appetite)
When you’re sleep-deprived, the level of ghrelin spikes and the level of leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger. Your body thinks it’s starving and needs more calories; you start craving sugar and salt. One study found that people who were sleep deprived ate an extra 400 calories a day!
On the other hand, leptin levels increase when you sleep, providing signals to your brain that you have plenty of energy and there’s no need to trigger hunger pangs.
Miriam Jameson, Synchronous Health therapist, says your eating and sleeping patterns are tightly interconnected: “The better we eat (whole, unprocessed food), the better we sleep. And the better sleep we get, the easier it is to make smart food choices.”
How to get better sleep
You’ve probably heard about ways to improve your sleep hygiene, which can help your overall sleep. For example, you can try stretching, breathing or relaxing exercises. It’s also a good idea to limit activity on your phone, tablet or laptop before bedtime. And don’t forget to keep a daily schedule with fixed times for going to bed and waking up. You can also work to improve your diet to promote better sleep. Don’t eat too close to bedtime, and be mindful of what you eat and drink. Try eating:
Well-sourced foods (natural, not processed)
Want to learn more about better eating or sleep habits? Our team is here for you. To learn more and connect with a specialist, visit sync.health/mnps or call 615-258-6654.
Sources: Sleep Review; National Library of Medicine; Johns Hopkins