Last month, The Huffington Post published a really interesting article about the link between ‘junk sleep’ and ‘junk food’.
We find it fascinating the amount of emphasis society places on a healthy diet and exercise regime, but the lack of time spent on promoting a healthy sleep regime. We all know the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ – but how about ‘you are how you sleep’!
Studies have shown, if you consistently achieve poor quality sleep, you are more likely to overeat, abandon healthy eating habits and make poor food choices – hence ‘junk sleep’ leads to ‘junk food’.
Consistent poor quality sleep has been shown to affect:
- Appetite-regulating hormones
Sleep deprivation can cause us to feel constantly hungry, and never satisfied with our normal meals – leading to extra, and unnecessary calorie consumption.
- Decision-making and behavioural responses to food choices
A tired brain has been proven to correlate with certain food cravings – so not only do we consume extra calories – but these are ‘junk’ calories.
Sleep plays a pivotal role in our ability to make decisions. We are more prone to cave in to our temptations if we have experienced poor sleep. For example – A Big Mac from the Drive-Thru.
A lot of people are unaware they are achieving poor quality sleep. They may be in bed for the recommended 7-9 hours, but the sleep they get is of poor quality. A number of aspects and influences can affect quality of sleep. For example caffeine, alcohol, light, noise, temperature, mattress and pillows etc. It is important to get your sleep environment right in order to make those 7-9 hours in bed worthwhile.
There could also be other health related issues going on, that are preventing you from getting the quality sleep you need. Sleep Apnoea is one of the most commonly undiagnosed sleep conditions, whereby 80% of those who have the condition, are unaware. Symptoms include interrupted breathing, snoring, sleepiness during the day, extreme fatigue, anxiety, depression, lack of sex drive, irritability, and frequent visits to the toilet during the night, or waking up with a dry mouth.
Too often people make New Year’s resolutions to have a healthy diet, or to go to the gym every day – neglecting their sleep pattern, which could be the crux of their health problems. There are effective recommendations and treatments for Sleep Apnoea (CPAP), and other sleep disorders. Do not ignore the symptoms and seek advice.
Make 2016 a healthy year, all round; with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and good quality sleep.