Friday, June 22, 2018

Why Sleep Deprivation Leads to Junk Food Cravings

Wazzup Pilipinas!

We live in a fast-paced society where sleep deprivation has become a normal part of many people’s lives. But getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night has a bigger impact than many realize. Without adequate rest, hormones get released in different amounts, altering your appetite and the brain begins craving the high-fat foods that lead to unwanted weight gain.

Sleep Deprivation Leaves You Hungry

When you’re sleep deprived, the body releases appetite-controlling hormones in different amounts. The brain releases larger quantities of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier while the hormone leptin gets released in smaller amounts, which means you don’t feel full as quickly. Your body naturally feels hungrier, making it difficult to stick with a balanced eating plan. Even though you don’t need those extra calories, you’re more likely to overeat when you haven’t gotten enough rest.

Enticing Snack Foods are Hard to Resist

Lack of sleep affects your brain in other ways too. When you’re sleep deprived, the reward center of the brain goes into high alert. It gets more rewards when you eat high-fat, sugary foods. In fact, the brain gets stimulated during sleep deprivation much in the same way it does while using marijuana. The reward center gets a bigger hit when you’re tired versus when you’re well rested. The munchies also tend to hit in the late afternoon and evening when you’re starting to feel even more exhausted after a long, sleep-deprived day.

Make a Change for Your Health

A solid seven hours of sleep every night supports a healthy eating plan and gives your body a chance to recover and rest. Developing good sleep hygiene, all those habits that surround your sleep is key to getting the shut-eye you need. Habits that can help you sleep better at night include:

Setting the Bedroom Up Right
Your bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary, not a multipurpose space. It should be dark, quiet, and kept at a cool 60-68 degrees at night. If you wake up in the morning achy and sore, you may need a mattress that supports your preferred sleep position. Purchasing a new mattress can be pricey. If it’s not in your budget, you might want to consider a mattress topper to give an old mattress new life.

Regular Exercise
Exercise not only creates a strong body but improves your overall health. It also wears out your body so you’re more tired at night. While you want to make exercise a regular part of your day, try to avoid strenuous activity too close to bedtime. The rise in body temperature and release of endorphins within four hours of bedtime can keep you awake long into the night.

Smart Snacking
While you want to avoid eating a heavy meal right before bed, a light snack can be just what you need to prevent hunger pains from waking you during the night. Try to choose foods that promote sleep by helping with melatonin production like milk, cheese, almonds, and bananas.

Avoid Stimulants and Screens
Caffeine and other stimulants can keep you wide awake if consumed within four hours of bedtime. You also want to avoid staring at a screen within one hour of going to bed. The bright, blue light from televisions, laptops, smartphones, or e-readers can be bright enough to make the brain believe it’s time to stay awake.

Written by:

Ellie Porter
Managing Editor |

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