We hear more and more about the importance of getting good sleep. There are many tips that help facilitate a good sleep routine including nutritional components that affect our sleep and vice versa.
Short sleep (less than 7 hours) found a 41% increase in obesity risk based on an analysis of over 20 studies and 300,000 people, including children. This may be due to the effect short sleep has on hunger hormones. Adequate sleep keeps our hunger and full hormones in the proper balance, while short sleep causes lower levels of leptin, the hormone that helps us feel full.
Poor sleep (waking during sleep cycles) affects the sympathetic nervous system, causing increased levels of cortisol, which, in turn, holds onto subcutaneous fat, especially in the mid section.
Eating too close to bedtime is one of the most significant factors affecting the quality of our sleep, causing us to wake during sleep cycles and sleep less.
Good sleep on the other hand may help:
- Moderate our appetite and reduce cravings: adequate leptin.
- Make better food choices by thinking clearly: self-control and decision making.
- Prevent late-night eating: less weight gain and better fat metabolism.
- Optimize our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): burn calories more efficiently at rest.
- Reduce daytime fatigue: more daytime activity, which then improves sleep.
- So what can we do to improve our sleep?
- Soak up the morning sun to start our daytime cycle.
- Set an alarm for bedtime, and create a wind-down routine that includes at least 30 minutes of relaxation and reduction of blue light.
- Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. Do not eat for at least two, preferably three hours before bed.
- Avoid alcohol drinks right before bed. Have one with dinner and not after.
- Avoid caffeine after noon.
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