PART 3 – Using Sleep to hack diet
Our body has many intricate and fascinating communication systems, one of which is based on chemical messengers called Hormones.
We have 2 main hunger hormones that remind me of gremlins they are called :
Leptin, which is released to tell us we are full:
‘Ok chaps, all good down here, no more food needed’
Ghrelin which tells us we are running on empty:
‘Ok guys we are running on low, in need of food- send some down now’.
These hormones work together to try to keep our intake of food at the levels required for survival.
Sleep And Hormones
It has been shown that in healthy adults 4 to 5 hours sleep reduces Leptin and increases Ghrelin. This means that our ability to know when we have eaten enough is impaired and we feel more hunger and get more signals telling us to eat.
Sleep And Risk Of Weight Gain
Sleep loss has been shown to result in an average 200-300 more calories eaten every day. This equals to a 10-15lb increase in fat mass in one year- just from sleep deprivation.
Sleep And Choices Of Food
Studies have shown that lack of sleep may inhibit our ability to make better food choices and we have a strong tendency to choose a diet of processed carbohydrates and refined sugars such as white bread, pasta, cookies and ice cream.
The Less You Sleep, The More You Eat
Less than 7 hours of sleep affects your body’s ability to process sugar, so not only do we eat more of the wrong foods, we are less able to handle the extra sugar we tend to crave.
Chronic sleep deprivation of fewer than 6 hours is now recognised as a contributing factor to Type 2 Diabetes.
WHERE’S THE GOOD NEWS?
Giving yourself a prescription of 7 -9 hours of sleep every day will help you:
- Control bodyweight and reduce weight gain
- Have a better ability to process sugar
- Reduce the risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes
- Lose fat mass rather than muscle mass and help you become leaner
- Calm your nervous system; less stress and therefore less need for fuel and sugar.
In Part 4 – SO How DO we sleep better?