Are your Sleep Habits Sabotaging Your Health?

While a person is resting, it gives the brain time to process information that was taken in throughout the day in preparation for receiving more on the following one. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, it pushes the brain to work even harder. This can cause individuals to suffer from memory impairment, and it can also delay motor skills. In other words, you need sleep in order to properly function, even when it comes to working out. If you’re lacking adequate rest, it can make you groggy, irritable, and slower when it comes to moving at your regular daily pace.

Canadian researchers tracked how sleep patterns affected weight over a six-year period.  People who slept 5 to 6 hours per night, as well as people who got 9 to 10 hours of sleep, were more likely to have gained 11 pounds at the end of six years. The scientists speculate that getting too much or too little sleep disrupts appetite control by stimulating the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, while reducing leptin, a hormone that dulls the appetite.

What Happens

Optimal Sleep for Optimal Health

When you don’t get enough sleep, there is a hormone in your body known as leptin that drops; at the same time, another hormone known as ghrelin rises.

Ghrelin triggers the appetite. Without enough sleep, you go throughout your day eating food, but never really feeling satisfied. The research done at Stanford showed that there was a 14.9% increase of ghrelin in those patients who slept an average of 5 hours versus those that got an average of 8 hrs of sleep. Not only that – the results were the same regardless of gender, body type, eating habits, or exercise programs.

If you have too little leptin in your system, it tells your body that you are starving, and increases your appetite. When researchers studied the effects of sleeping habits on leptin hormone levels, it showed a 15.5% decrease in the same studied patients who slept an average of 5 hours as compared to those who slept consistently for 8 hours.

Another consequence of sleep deprivation has on your appetite is that if you didn’t sleep well the previous night, you usually will gravitate toward foods and drinks with lots of caffeine and sugar content.

These findings show us that we ought to be thinking about ways to incorporate sleep hygiene into standard weight control programs. So, the next time that you hear someone say that they’ll sleep when they’re dead, perhaps you should share this article with them. It’s not so much a cliché, but a declaration of a series of potential health risks. Sleep, ironically, helps you to live longer and healthier. And who doesn’t want that?