Disrupted Sleep And Your Relationship With Food: Know The Surprising Link – NDTV

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Disrupted Sleep And Your Relationship With Food: Know The Surprising Link

Lack of sleep can disrupt your metabolism

Highlights

  • Sleeping well can be beneficial for your metabolism
  • Lack of sleep can increase cravings
  • Not sleeping well can affect your decision making

You might have already known or experienced by now that there are many factors that affect your hunger- say the type of food, cravings, your emotions, and physical activity. But, did you know that your sleep patterns too can have a direct impact on your hunger instinct? Speaking of instincts, 5 types of them govern your relationship with food- hunger, food availability, calorie density, familiarity, and variety. The instinct of hunger can be easily disrupted by external or environmental factors like lack of sleep.

Here’s how disrupted sleep has a major role to play in defining your relationship with food:

1. Increased appetite

Lack of sleep is directly related to an increased appetite and overeating. Your hunger is neurologically regulated by 2 hormones- leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite while leptin suppresses it. When you are sleep-deprived, the levels of ghrelin spike while leptin levels go down- leading to an uncontrollable appetite which may lead to wrong and unhealthy food choices and thereby causing weight gain.

Also read: Weight Loss Tips: Here’s How Meal Timings Can Help You Burn More Fat And Curb Appetite

2. Increased cravings

When you are sleep-deprived, your body judges it as a state of stress causing the release of cortisol- also known as the stress hormone. This hormone also increases the appetite especially causing the cravings of sweet, high-fat, salty, junk foods. High levels of cortisol also leads to lower muscle mass and increase in fat mass. The fat accumulation is more prone at the abdominal region.

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Lack of sleep can increase the amount of cravings you experience
Photo Credit: iStock

3. Decreased metabolism

Healthy sleep is closely connected with metabolic processes of your body. It can even lead to a chronic condition called metabolic syndrome which is the triad of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high accumulation of fat around waist/belly region. Metabolic syndrome is also known as syndrome X and it can lead to health complications like heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

4. Difficulty in following a healthy diet

Lack of sleep can truly impact your decision making skills whether you are eating food or buying food. The emotional turmoil as a result of sleep deprivation can make it difficult for you to stick to a routine or to follow a healthy diet opening up the door to a host of chronic conditions like obesity or diabetes.

Also read: Diabetes Diet: Here’s How Legumes Can Help Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Controlled

How to improve sleep and thereby control the hunger instinct:

Your body has a natural sleep-wake cycle or the circadian rhythm. Developing healthy habits and following a sleep routine can not only impact your quality of sleep but also overall health. Here’s what you can do:

  • Focus on eating small, portion-controlled meals throughout the day to avoid bed-time sluggishness.

  • Finish dinner before 3 hours of hitting bed. Avoid eating high-fat, heavy food items at dinner time.
  • A cup of chamomile tea right before bed helps lead to peaceful sleep. Turmeric milk is also an excellent sleep stimulant.
  • Make sure to stick to an exercise regime, but not within 2-3 hours of bedtime as hormones produced by exercising can keep you awake.
  • Avoid alcohol in any form before sleeping.

Also read: Increased Stress, Disturbed Sleep And Other Risks Associated With Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Point to note

Make sure you are getting your 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night as it is crucial for your body and brain to function optimally. Sticking to a basic sleep routine with healthy diet, exercise, and stress management can play a huge role in determining your health and well-being.

(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)

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