Your sleep is key to more than you might think. Eating habits are one of the areas that get disturbed, along with other not-so-healthy knock-on effects. In this guest blog from a writer at tuck.com, we can see why getting enough sleep is essential to body and mind.
Enjoy the read, and let us know if you too wish to send us an article that talks about healthy lifestyle changes that make you feel, be and do good.
Sleep and Eating Habits
If you are trying to get healthy or lose weight, chances are you are willing to try just about anything, whether it’s new types of exercise or juice cleanses. One thing you should try that you might not think is relevant is getting a full night’s sleep.
Struggling to sleep also leads to a higher risk of developing type II diabetes. According to a 2006 study in JAMA Internal Medicine, this is because of the body changing the way that it metabolizes glycerin and insulin and because it can lead to overeating and weight gain that can contribute to developing this disorder.
Sleep Stress Factors
If you catch yourself waking up in the middle of the night worried about your safety, it might be worth looking into a home security system. If you are having a lot of other worries, you might want to also talk to a doctor or therapist to see if there’s a way to alleviate those worries.
The more stress you are under, the less sleep you will wind up getting. Sleep, or the lack thereof, affects every part of our lives, from what we worry about to the foods that we crave and purchase to the width of our waists. Yes, really.
Sleep Deprived Food Choices
Scientists have found that when we don’t get enough sleep, we make food choices that are based less on what we need nutritionally and more on what is convenient and high in carbohydrates and fats. We are also more likely to crave a midafternoon snack, even though we don’t actually need it.
A 2013 study in the journal Obesity Society found that when you are sleep deprived while grocery shopping, you buy more food than you need and higher calorie food than you would normally. This means you are more likely to eat more, simply because you have more food at your disposal. Since you will need to exercise more willpower to avoid eating more than you need, this could be detrimental to your health and diet. Tip: Read the Food craving goodbye guide.
Better Sleep Better Eating Habits
Planning your meals to be as conducive for sleep as possible will help you to get a better night’s sleep. Avoid spicy or highly acidic foods at night if you struggle with heartburn or acid reflux, which are often an issue at night. Plan to have your last meal three or four hours before you intend to go to bed and avoid late-night snacks whenever possible.
If your body is digesting food at night, you are going to struggle to sleep through the night. If you must have a late night snack, try having a mix of carbs and dairy. The amino acids found in dairy products breakdown carbohydrates into tryptophan, which you might know as the sleepy chemical in turkey
You should also avoid caffeine or alcohol in the afternoon or evening. Caffeine stays in your system for up to eight hours, which can cause you to struggle to sleep and struggle to stay asleep. Alcohol does not say in your system for as long, but it is more likely to force you to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, disrupting your sleep cycle.
This article is written by our guest blogger Mary Lee who is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com. She specializes in sleep’s role in mental and physical health and wellness. Mary lives in Olympia, Washington and shares her full-sized bed with a very noisy cat.
Sleepy and Healthy?
Being able to go to sleep and get enough hours (6 – 8 hours) is sometimes easier said than done. We work many hours and need to fit in as much as possible into our busy lives. The time to wind down, relax and just ‘be’ is seldom there. Sleep doesn’t come easily if the mind is spinning and adrenaline still rushing through the body. You can try counting sheep, or the military sleep technique.
Consider a digital detox and allow yourself to think through priorities in life and at work. What matters and in what order? Find solutions by giving a healthy lifestyle change a chance.
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