Did you know that 70% of Americans suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep? Between work, school, kids, maintaining households and of course, social lives, sleep can be last on the priority list. But studies have shown an association between what we eat and how we sleep.
Two out of every 10 Americans sleep less than six hours a night. Your body needs seven to eight hours. A poll from the National Sleep Foundation found that those sleeping too few hours report being too tired to work efficiently, to exercise, or to eat healthy.
Read on for the 7 ways insomnia and sleep disorders can affect your diet and weight.
- Slower Metabolism
Insomnia has been shown to have a direct link to metabolism. A slower metabolism resulting from lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. In the U.S., it is reported that 61% of the people with sleep disorders have weight issues resulting from slower metabolisms. “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.
- Junk Food Cravings
Ever find yourself craving fast food and salty, junky snacks after a night of no sleep? A study from UC Berkeley links insomnia to junk food cravings. “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarl, D., clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.
- Increased Risk Of Heart Disease
Inadequate sleeping patterns were tied to heart attack risk, cardiovascular disorders, and stroke according to a 2011 study from Warwick Medical School “If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep, you stand a 48-percent greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15-percent greater chance of developing or dying of a stroke,” said the study’s lead author, Francesco Cappuccio.
- Emotional Eating
A study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that chronic lack of sleep can increase one’s chances of developing anxiety disorders and depression. A side effect of depression can be emotional eating, which shares traits with binge eating and compulsive eating.
- Carb Cravings
Failure to get enough sleep could mean an overload of carbs the next day. A study by Plamen Penev, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of Chicago showed that when sleep times were 5-1/2 hours or less, study subjects consumed more carb-heavy snacks the next day. Check out our list of healthy snacks in our 7- and 14-day Meal Plans.
- Larger Portions
After only one night of bad sleep, cravings for larger portions can increase. That combined with the increased carb cravings is weight gain waiting to happen.Find out more about healthy eating and portions.
The less sleep we get, the more caffeine we generally consume. Beverages such as coffee, sodas, beer and wine have a diuretic effect which forces the body to eliminate more water than it is actually taking in – causing dehydration. Some believe there is an epidemic of chronic dehydration in the US due to our caffeine and alcohol consumption. To operate efficiently, most people say the body requires about eight large glasses of water per day, based on an estimate of fluid loss during a normal day.
To help you get a good night’s sleep, here are 8 tips for getting your full eight hours.
- Wind down with a cup of Organic Sleepy Tea
- Go easy on the alcohol before bed
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid heavy meals when it’s late
- Keep a consistent sleep/wake schedule, even on weekends
- Take a hot bath
- Power down electronic devices an hour before bed
- Cut caffeine by the early afternoon