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Studies suggest getting better sleep can improve people’s diet. Researchers found that sleep habits are directly connected to the foods a person eats and the amount they consume. For the human body, food that is eaten influences how much body fat is gained or lost, and some contain more fat than others. Junk foods are rich in fat and sugar, which contributes to weight gain.
Less sleep provokes brain and hormonal changes that trigger food cravings, leading to the consumption of more calories. Researchers have found that those who are “chronically sleep deprived” can see better eating habits with just an additional hour of sleep added to their sleep schedule, with weight loss being a possibility if this change is made. Decreased hours of rest results in decreased brain activity regulating food intake.
Experts suggest that an average adult should aim for seven hours of sleep a night but, one in three adults does not get enough rest to operate more productively. Most adults are lackadaisical about proper recovery because of work and social media. Although it is detrimental to sacrifice sleep for work and entertainment, some people are not able to due to illnesses like chronic insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.
Consistently losing rest correlates to weight gain, for women just a few nights of less sleep reduces GLP-1 levels. GLP-1 is a hormone found in women that signals satiety, which allows them to feel satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment after eating a meal. Without satiety, they will eat more under the impression that they are not full. For men, lack of sufficient sleep spikes ghrelin, a hormone stimulating hunger.
Sleep deprivation triggers changes in the brain that affects how pleasure and reward are perceived. The brain responds more willingly to junk foods like candy, pizza, and ice cream. These urges are toward fattening foods which damage dieting and overall health.
The key to a healthy lifestyle encompasses many things. This includes sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Though these tenets of life are all different, they are mutually exclusive in regards to building a strong and healthy lifestyle.
One cannot flourish properly without the other. Seven to eight hours of rest gives a person just enough energy to perform their daily tasks for the day. Add that to a healthy diet and now it gives someone the opportunity to explore outside of their usual physical actions, dabbling in exercise and more demanding activities.
For example, athletes like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo follow a strict diet to maximize performance in their respective sports. This is only possible through sufficient amounts of rest, the freshest and purest forms of cuisine, and smart but productive exercise. A step further is that athletes of this caliber invest their finances into personal trainers and nutritionists but, these things will not show any results if rest is not incorporated alongside them.
Written by Mikal Eggleston
Edited by Sheena Robertson
The Washington Post: How poor sleep can wreck your eating habits; by Anahad O’Connor
Science Alert: Ultra-Processed Food Is Everywhere. The Health Risks Go Deeper Than We Realized; by Richard Hoffman
Image by Bertilvidet Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of david reid’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License