The Bad Habit That’s Messing with Your Sleep - Better Health Solutions

The Bad Habit That’s Messing with Your Sleep

​And how you can get on track for a more restful night

The relationship between sleep and diet is a complicated one. Recent news that fiber, sugar, and fat intake can cause sleep problems adds to a growing body of research connecting the two.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found that diets lower in fiber and higher in saturated fats and sugar are linked to less restful, more fragmented sleep with more frequent awakenings throughout the night. These diets also were associated with less time in slow-wave sleep, a highly restorative phase of sleep.

A vicious circle of sleep-affecting-diet, diet-affecting sleep occurs: Insufficient sleep spurs appetite, in part by altering hormones that regulate feelings of hunger and fullness. Short on sleep, our levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin spike, while levels of leptin—a hormone that promotes feelings of fullness—drop.

As a result, when you're sleep deprived, you tend to consume more calories than your body needs. In addition to spiking overall appetite, insufficient sleep specifically increases your desire for fatty and sugary foods and also reduces your ability to withstand these food cravings (there's a strong scientific connection between insufficient and poor quality sleep and obesity)...

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