How Lack of Sleep Can Trigger Food Addiction

Love food? Love sleep? Don’t we all! However, recent research has found that a lack of sleep can result in overeating and weight gain (as well as a number of other health issues!) – meaning that getting those 7-8 hours a night are even more crucial than we thought. 

How does it work? Well, naturally, a lack of sleep makes us feel lethargic – so what do we crave? Sugar! We’ll crave chocolate bars, crisps, practically anything with a high sugar and fat content, just so we can last the day.

A recent study published in the Sleep journal found that young, healthy adults who only had on average 4.5 hours of sleep per night had higher levels of ghrelin in their system (the hormone which tells you that you’re hungry and increases your appetite) compared to the levels of leptin (the hormone which tells you that you’re full and therefore reduces your appetite). Snack consumption was therefore greater in comparison to those getting the recommended 7-8 hours.

So, the next time you find yourself craving endless amounts of sugar, it’s not a lack of willpower that’s doing that – it’s most likely due to a chemical imbalance after a restless night.

Photo Credit: Paul W via Flickr

Photo Credit: Paul W 

What can you do for better sleep?

In a world where technology rules our lives, it’s hard to shut off and say “tonight, I really am going to get that early night,” but you owe it to yourself and your health to do it.

Here’s some tips to get you reaching for the pillow and not the chocolate:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Turn off all technology (TV!) at least an hour before bed
  • Don’t go to bed on a full stomach, make sure you eat around two hours before bed
  • Use a blackout blind to create a dark environment that tells your brain you’re ready for bed
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