New research gives us yet another reason why we should get enough shuteye each night. It has been found that those who don’t get enough sleep tend to overeat because the lack of sleep causes hunger pangs.
Sleep deprivation causes hunger pangs
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have expressed the apprehension that lack of sleep is one of the factors that is fuelling the obesity epidemic. It was found that those who got just 20 minutes less sleep in a day, could end up eating as many as 549 calories more – equal to a big Mac and chips – as a result of this.
It is the change in levels of hormones that are known to govern appetite that could be responsible for this sleep deprivation.
The hormone ghrelin stimulates the appetite whereas the hormone leptin suppresses the appetite.
According to Professor Somers, it is probably the leptin that was responsible for weight gain. According to him the more fat a body is composed of, the greater the amount of leptin will be produced by it.
The professor also opined that the amount of time that is spent at night using technology and social networking sites could be responsible at least in part for the fact that people are eating more and are fatter today because it keeps people from sleeping.
How to get enough sleep
Figure out how much you need to sleep and prioritize your sleep. 7 hours is the average sleep needed though some people seem to need only about 6 hours whereas others need about 8 hours.
If you wake up feeling refreshed without the help of an alarm clock then that is the amount of sleep you need.
Keep stress levels down and actively relax yourself before bed. Keep caffeine consumption down and don’t engage in stimulating activities before bed.
Exercise regularly. It relieves muscle tension. Upper body stretches could help you relax and get better sleep.
Have a regular bedtime. If you cannot fall asleep within 15 minutes of going to sleep, get up and do something soothing until you feel sleepy.