Getting Sufficient sleep is the most underrated, yet most important habit for your health. Not sleeping enough has been linked to several health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and even an increased risk for all sorts of accidents. Before getting into all the scientific reasons for the connection between health and lack of Sufficient sleep, there is a very simple explanation.
If you don’t sleep properly, you are exhausted, so you don’t want to exercise, you don’t think clearly, and you definitely don’t want to prepare anything healthy to eat. When you are tired it is a lot easier to skip the gym, then hit the drive thru and veg out on the couch with a milk shake and a burger. Lack of sleep affects all aspects of your life.
Sleep and Weight
Sleep affects two of the major appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin increases appetite before meals whereas leptin sends the brain a signal that we have eaten enough. When you don’t get enough sleep, the ghrelin levels in your body increase where the leptin levels decrease, meaning the satisfaction signal is turned off and the hunger signals are turned on.
Not only are you tired, you are also hungrier than normal and nothing seems to satisfy you once you do eat. It has been found that people who are tired tend to crave high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods, when they are tired, not exactly your healthy weight loss foods.
Sleep and Heart Disease
Not getting enough sleep can also increase your risk for heart disease and strokes. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who reported the fewest hours of sleep were most likely to suffer a heart attack. This difference was seen regardless of weight, physical activity, or other related lifestyle factors. Lack of sleep may increase inflammation levels causing a rise in inflammatory proteins and hormones. Chronic inflammation in is believed to be the primary cause of many illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Tips to get more sleep
Getting more sleep may not be easy with our busy and over-scheduled lives. The first step to sleeping more is to set a specific bedtime and stick to it consistently, even on weekends. You should also wake up at the same time every day and avoid napping during the day. Limit caffeine, alcohol, exercise, and heavy meals at least 2 hours before bed time. An hour before bedtime, consider taking a warm bath or drinking some decaf tea. Turn down the lights and unplug your smartphone or computer.
Give your body a signal that it is time to wind down for the day. Make sure the room is dark and at a comfortable temperature when you do try to get to sleep. Keep up these restful habits and aim for at least 8 hours of sleep a night for optimal health.