Sleep influences your diet more than you think
A lot of people struggle with reaching their weight or fitness goals despite working really hard on their diet. Why? It’s because they don’t have good sleep. Fixing sleep is often the key to overcoming a weight loss or performance plateau. This is because your body has issues regulating key hormones when you’re in a chronically sleep-deprived state.
If you sleep 6 hours when your body really needs 8 hours then your stomach produces a lot more ghrelin, which is a hormone that causes hunger. At the same time, your leptin levels fall, and you need leptin to feel satiated. And lastly, your endocannabinoids levels increase, making food seem more pleasurable. That’s a combination that makes it really hard to eat a normal amount of food and make good food choices.
Bad sleep often means bad diet
Science shows that almost everyone tends to eat more and choose worse foods when they are sleep-deprived. Not getting enough sleep makes you hungrier and intensifies your cravings for sweets. Plus, if you’re awake longer, you have even more time to seek out those delicious unhealthy foods. Research shows that all of this makes people eat about 300 calories more per day compared to people who get enough sleep.
Your health suffers too
As if it wasn’t enough that poor sleep causes poor dietary choices, science suggests that poor sleep is also pretty bad for your overall health. Studies show that just one night of sleep deprivation can lead to increased blood pressure the following day. They also show that just one hour less sleep than usual, which is what 1.5 billion people experience due to daylight savings time, significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack. Bad sleep also makes you more susceptible to infections.
How to improve your sleep?
It’s pretty clear that if you want to improve your diet, work on your weight, and stay healthy sleep is a priority. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough sleep. The average person needs to spend around 8.5 hours in bed to get the necessary 8 hours of sleep. If you want ideas on how to increase the time you spend sleeping and improve the quality and regularity of your sleep, check out our series on sleep.