Sleep and Metabolism – are you getting Enough?

Sleep and metabolism has been catching the attention of researchers for some time. It is understood that sleep is related to hormonal and metabolic processes within our bodies. Researchers are highlighting importance of sleep on metabolism. Studies are showing the link between sleep deprivation and metabolic dysregulation, obesity and diabetes. 

Why do we need Sleep?

Everything our body does serves a purpose and sleep is no exception. Sleep is an essential part of living. It serves as a support and repair mechanism for our memory, growth, tissue repair and more. The need for sleep in adults differs from person to person. Research is collectively pointing towards the need for a minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep per night. 

Nutritional Decision Making of the Sleepy Brain 

Poor sleep leaves your brain in a drunk like state, setting you up for some bad decision making. This tired state affects the area of your brain responsible for controlling your impulses. Making you experience lowered impulse control, and higher rewards for the things that feel good. To sum this up, you are likely to say yes to that second (or third) slice of cake.

It’s all in the Research

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition carried out an important study on sleep and nutritional decision making. Sleep deprived participants ate more late-night high carbohydrate snacks.

A study by the University of Chicago suggested similar findings. Sleep deprivation results in a higher fat consumption. Participants with less than 6 hours sleep double their fat consumption.

Equally, this study found, less than 6 hours sleep makes you more likely to consume a higher calories. This is due to eating larger portions (of all sorts of foods), when sleep deprived.

An in depth study was performed in the United States. The study simulated a restricted-sleep schedule based on an average [American] work week. The study included an in depth review of the biochemical implications of sleep deprivation on the metabolism. Results suggested that tired participants felt less full, after a fatty meal. In addition to this, sleep deprivation also impacted lipid (fat) metabolism.

The most interesting part of all this research is the impact of a good sleep. A good night sleep after sleep deprivation, helped to show signs of improvement. Making one night of good sleep a ‘recovery sleep’.

Tips to Improve your Sleep 

To optimize your health and metabolism, you really must make sure you are getting enough sleep, and good sleep at that. Here you can find 17 evidence based methods to improve your sleep and help you fall asleep better. Below we have outlined the top 3 for you.

1. Expose yourself to Daylight

Exposure to natural sunlight keeps your circadian rhythm in check. In turn you will have more energy, sleep better at nights and reduced chances of insomnia.

2. Reduce your Blue Light Exposure

Blue light from your screens, tricks your body into believing that it’s daytime. This in turn messes with your circadian rhythm, confusing it between day and night. Reducing evening screen time and/or using blue screen light filters can help reduce the risk of confusing your body. Ultimately helping you get a good nights sleep.

3. Cut out the Coffee

There are great benefits to coffee (even for your metabolism). Consuming coffee late at night however, can play havoc with your sleep. Caffeine stays in your bloodstream for up to 8 hours. Therefore if you are sensitive to caffeine and/or have trouble sleeping, you should avoid coffee after 4pm.

In Summary

The verdict is out! Research has unanimously concluded that a deficiency of good sleep has a huge impact on your mental and physical well-being. Continued sleep deprivation, will lead you down a path of unwise nutritional choices and storing fat easier. The biggest long term risk of not getting enough sleep, is being at risk for metabolic related diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

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