Sleep and Health

Recent research suggests that people who do not get enough sleep tend to weigh more and that sleep can affect levels of the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin. 

There is a dynamic balance between proper sleep and proper health. 
Sleep deprivation affects weight and a lot of other things. 
If we cheat sleep, there are a number of consequences, including affecting our hormones, appetite and mood.

While most people are aware of the relationship of diet and exercise to excess weight, few realize that the amount of sleep they get each night can also affect their weight. 
Being overweight might make it harder to get a restful night sleep. 
People who are overweight may have less restful sleep due to heartburn, snoring or more serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea or night eating syndrome. 
Sleep deprivation affects our body chemistry, appetite and the choices that we make throughout the day.

Hormones change with sleep loss and deprivation.  
Sleep deprivation can affect appetite and also the type of food that one desires. 
When we are tired, we are less resilient to stress and other common emotional triggers for eating. 
When we eat to help we cope with emotions, we are more likely to choose comfort foods like chocolate, ice cream or chips. 
And, since eating only helps temporarily, we may find ourselves reaching for food again and again to try to make us feel better.

Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, there are some people who need as many as 10 and others who may do well on just five hours. 
The best way to figure out how much sleep we need is to take a long vacation and after a couple of days of catching up on our sleep debt, we can see how many hours of sleep we need to wake without an alarm clock. 
Since many of us do not take long vacations, if we feel that we are not fully functional all day, or that we are doing things to stay awake, we are probably not getting enough sleep.

It is important to remember that “healthy eating, physical activity and sleep are not luxuries, they are necessities.”

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