TipsMay 10 - 2018

The importance of sleep

We all hear about how sleep is correlated with our weight…but is it true ??


People who get less sleep are more likely to have a weight issue!

Until recently, we used to think that sleep is just for the brain, not the rest of the body. But sleep has a huge impact on all parts of us. We are not wired biologically for sleep deprivation. We’re actually the only animal that sleeps less than we need to!!!

Researchers have discovered that people who slept less than six hours a night were 23 percent more likely to be obese than people who slept between six and eight hours. Sleep affects hormones (leptin and ghrelin) that regulate satiety, hunger, and how efficiently you burn calories. Leptin signals the brain to stop eating. Ghrelin is made in the stomach and is a signal to keep eating. The two influence whether you want that second helping or if you walk away from the table. Studies show that leptin levels are lower and ghrelin levels are higher in people who sleep fewer hours. 

The combination of low leptin and high ghrelin is likely to increase appetite. This would make a person more likely to crave salty foods like chips; sweets like cake and candy; and starchy foods like bread- after four hours of sleep than after ten hours. To make this problem worse, the brain interprets a drop in leptin as a sign of starvation. It responds not only by boosting hunger, but also by burning fewer calories. 

So.. how can you get your best sleep??? Try some of the following!

-Turn off your gadgets and avoid watching tv late at night! The blue light emitted from electronic screens mimic the blue light found in daytime sunlight, which can alter your melatonin production, making it difficult to sleep!

-Use full spectrum light bulbs in your home and office during daytime hours. 

-Sleep in total darkness! Also try to sleep when it’s dark outside and get up when the sun comes up. At minimum, strive to sleep between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

-Avoid working the night shift (if you can!). It’s been linked to significantly lower levels of serotonin which may cause sleep problems, anger, depression and anxiety.

Now start counting those sheep and get the best sleep of your life!!

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