The Importance of Sleep & How To Improve It
Sleep and Weight Gain
Studies show that 60% of poor sleepers are classed as obese or overweight. Sleep can improve our diet - Short sleep can affect what we eat, there is a part of the brain called hypothalamus which regulates appetite. There are hormones produced in the body that send signals that act on the hypothalamus which tell the body how hungry or full we are.
Leptin – A hormone produced by fat cells in the body, when more fat stores leptin goes up and tells the brain fat stores are sufficient. Some studies show short sleepers have lower levels of leptin
Ghrelin – A hormone making us feel hungry. Some evidence shows that ghrelin levels are higher in people who are short sleepers, a constant hunger signal!
A study in a metabolic unit showed that people deprived of sleep averagely consumed 385 extra cals per day (20% of average women’s energy requirements). This would lead to weight gain if continued over time.
Concentration, Productivity, Mood, Memory
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. Cognition, concentration, productivity, memory, mood and performance are all negatively affected by sleep deprivation. Getting enough sleep can improve academic performance in young adults and improve solving skills and enhance memory.
How To Improve Sleep
- Avoid blue lights: no phone before bed, have some wind down time away from stimulants
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: This can prevent deep sleep and make it harder to fall asleep
- Create a peaceful environment: Make sure you feel restful, generally it’ll feel easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in a quiet, cool and dark room
- Have regular sleeping hours: Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day will teach your body to sleep better. Try to avoid napping where possibl