Ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat”? For years, there has been talk about how eating the right kinds of food are essential for good health. And we all know it to be true. It is also widely acknowledged that an active lifestyle is a major contributing factor for a healthy body. What is often overlooked however, is the importance of sleep in the maintenance of a healthy body.
The Missing Piece: Sleep-Nutrition Correlation
There is still some debate on the mechanisms of how sleep works and heals the body. But the right amount of sleep plays a large role in maintaining a healthy body. There are studies that show that sleep helps in the regulation of moods, aids in learning and enhances the memory. So, to stay focused the next day, getting the right amount of sleep can help get tasks done. It can also help boost energy levels and maintain a healthy weight.
However, people who lack the proper amount of sleep often consume large amounts of caffeine to boost their energy throughout the day. They are generally the ones who need a coffee first thing each morning and late afternoon. This will make it harder to have an early night to let their body rejuvenate. Plus, the more you stay up late, the higher the chances of eating that late-night junk food snack or soda. Some studies also show that it is harder to avoid eating unhealthy foods when a person is not getting enough sleep. This can lead to unnecessary weight gain and will make it difficult to sustain energy for longer periods.
One of society’s worst health problems today is obesity. Although diet, genetics, environment and lifestyle are largely to blame, the alteration of sleeping pattern is now emerging as a negative factor in a person’s well-being. This sleeping behavior became common today due to modern society’s demands and opportunities.
In fact, researches on sleep patterns have shown that there is a consistent link between shorter sleep duration and larger body mass. When a person is sleep deprived, hormonal imbalance occurs between leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for signaling the brain that we are full, and ghrelin communicates to the brain that we are hungry. A person who slept less than the recommended eight-hours of sleep has less leptin and elevated levels of ghrelin.
Length Of Sleep And Nutritional Intake
A study done by the University of Pennsylvania showed that the habitual length of a person’s sleeping habit has a link to their diet. Sleepers are categorized into the following: very short sleepers (less than 5 hours a night), short sleepers (5-6 hours), average sleepers (7-8 hours) and long sleepers (9 hours or more).
They found out that caloric intake differs between these groups. The short sleepers consume the most calories, followed by the average sleepers and then the very short sleepers. The long sleepers, on the other hand, consume the least amount of calories. They also found that among the groups, the average sleepers consume the most varied diet. Those that are considered short and long sleepers, meanwhile, have less varied diets. However, further studies should be made to show whether a change in diets could lead to a change in sleeping habits, or if a change in sleeping habits would lead to healthier diet choices.
However, there is already evidence that short durations of sleep can lead to obesity. With this problem comes a host of other medical conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It is also known that people who are long sleepers can also experience negative health concerns. A proper mix of sleep and nutrition, can be an effective tool in battling these medical conditions. It is now recommended that any anti-obesity program should include a person’s sleeping habit.
We all know now that personal diet choices, food resources and individual lifestyle activities are all major factors in a person’s health and fitness. However, getting the right amount of sleep can be that next major step that we can take to ensure us of better wellness, proper nutrition and even a longer and healthy life.