Getting adequate sleep (e.g., 7 to 8 hours) is just as important as nutrition and exercise in staying healthy and fit. There is a growing body of research that indicates that lack of sleep is a contributing factor for the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our country. Hormones such as leptin, ghrelin and cortisol are affected by sleep quality and quantity. Not surprisingly, all of these hormones are also involved in governing appetite. Thus, there is a correlation between lack of sleep and increased appetite. In other words, inadequate sleep makes you feel more hungry, especially for high-fat, high-calorie foods during the evening.
What can you do to increase the amount of sleep you're getting? Start by watching less television at night and restrict the amount of time spent on the computer.
Need more reasons to get more sleep at night? Here's eight benefits of getting more shut-eye:
- Better health (i.e., lessens the risk of heart disease, hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity)
- Better sex life (i.e., increases energy and testosterone levels)
- Less pain (i.e., may increase pain threshold)
- Lower risk of injury (i.e., lessens the risk of auto accidents)
- Better mood (i.e., less likely to be cranky or uptight)
- Clearer thinking (i.e., improves cognition, attention and decision-making skills)
- Better memory (i.e., increases the brain's ability to store memories)
- Stronger immunity (i.e., lack of sleep may make you more susceptible to getting sick)
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."