The importance of sleep for health

There are so many factors that are important to living a healthy lifestyle, and in this blog, we will be explaining the importance of sleep, how much you should get and why it improves your weight loss.

Weight loss and maintaining weight once you get to your ideal weight involves several factors, but how many calories you consume and how many you use is key.

To help control your calorie intake there are many strategies you can use to stop you over-eating or feeling hungry and lacking energy. Here are some examples.

Eat lots of vegetables
They are low in calorie for their bulky size, packed with vitamin and minerals. The fibre in vegetables will also help slow down digestion of food and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Balance your meals
You should have Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats in every meal. By combining these 3 macronutrients you will help to blunt the release of insulin when you eat, and this will help you feel fuller for longer.

Take your time eating
Your brain takes around 20 minutes to realise you have eaten, eat too fast and you risk overeating. So, put your fork or sandwich down between bites and spend time chewing and enjoying your food.

Sleep
This blog will explain the importance of sleep when trying to lose weight.

Why is sleep so important when trying to lose weight?

We all have choices to make each day and the position we are in life will determine how many choices we have. Most of us are lucky enough to have time to prepare food and get sufficient sleep but we need to prioritise and make the right choices. We all know that getting an early night is much healthier watching another episode on Netflix, we just need to make that choice.

You should aim to have a minimum of 8 hours sleep so if you wake up at 6am for work, you should be sleeping by 10pm, and that is asleep at 10pm not in bed and reading or checking Facebook.

Sleep is important in so many ways, but the key reasons we will explain:

1 – Lack of sleep affects your hormones

If you do not get enough sleep, you will feel an increased appetite. This is because when you do not sleep enough your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin hormones.

Ghrelin is released in the stomach and signals hunger in the brain. Levels are high before you eat, which is when the stomach is empty, and low after you eat. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. It reduces hunger and tells your brain you are full.

Also, when you are tired the hormone cortisol is higher. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can also increase appetite.

When the balance of these hormones is not correct you are fighting an uphill battle feeling hungry all the time, this can lead to excess food intake.

2 – Sleep will improve physical activity

This is an obvious one, the more tired you are the less motivated you will be to exercise or move at all. If you do manage to exercise when tired you will be less likely to work at a high intensity.

Likewise, the more energised you are from a good night’s sleep, the more likely you are to have a productive and proactive day and more importantly, a more energetic workout.

 3 – Not enough sleep may Increase Your Calorie Intake

If you don’t get enough sleep you will be tired and more irritable, you won’t be able to concentrate as well, this will make you more likely to make poor food choices.

Studies have shown that people who have insufficient sleep generally consume more calories than those who have sufficient sleep. Those who had less sleep also had more ghrelin in their systems which will increase feelings of hunger and lead to larger portions and poor choices.

Its also important to remember the less sleep you have the more time you spend awake eating.

 4 – It Helps Prevent Insulin Resistance

Poor sleep can cause cells to become insulin resistant.

When cells become insulin resistant, increased sugar stays in the bloodstream, the body then produces more insulin to deal with it.

The elevated insulin increases feelings of hunger and tells the body to store more calories as fat. Insulin resistance is a precursor to weight gain.

Sleep is incredibly important; it is a part of the puzzle that is essential for optimal health. Remember you have choices, getting enough sleep is an easy one to achieve.

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