Did you know the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight? Research tells us sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy, and weight control in multiple ways.
First, when we’re tired, we might not always make the best food choices during the day. Additionally, during sleep the body works to regulate hunger and satiety hormones – we produce more of the hormone leptin that suppresses our appetite and less of the hormone grehlin that stimulates appetite. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, these hormones become unbalanced, making it harder to determine when we’re hungry and when we’re satisfied, potentially resulting in weight gain.
How much sleep should you get? It’s recommended you get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep per night to regulate hunger and satiety hormones, keep your metabolism working, and function at your best!
But what about when you haven’t slept well? Some evidence shows that short naps (up to an hour) can be beneficial and can improve mood and work performance. Try not to nap after 3 p.m. or for longer than 20 minutes so as not to interfere with the next night’s sleep. And naps are not a long-term substitute for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re finding yourself frequently having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or not feeling well rested despite having at least seven hours of sleep, talk to you doctor.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Your Guide Healthy Sleep: NIH Publication No. 11-5271 Originally printed November 2005 Revised August 2011