Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sleep deprivation and hunger

Where has that week gone?.........I'm not sure how we fit so much into our days?... then blink and we are a week closer to the end of the year. I spend a considerable amount of time lifestyle planning with clients to balance work, activity, family life and most importantly SLEEP! (yes dietetics does cross into other fields some times).
We don't realise how important sleep is to the body and many of us are trying to get away with less and less and consequently feeling exhausted. Also many are battling weight and hunger issues..........here's why!
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that partial sleep deprivation alters the circulating levels of the hormones that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite and a preference for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods. The study, published in the 7 Dec. 2004 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, provides a mechanism linking sleep loss to the epidemic of obesity.
Research subjects who slept only four hours a night for two nights had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, a hormone that tells the brain there is no need for more food, and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.
The study volunteers, all healthy young men, reported a 24 percent increase in appetite, with a surge in desire for sweets, such as lollies and biscuits, salty foods such as chips and nuts, and starchy foods suchas bread and pasta
This may explain why sleep deprived mums and dads eat differently and crave energy dense foods.
Also if you are working into the small hours of the morning or trying to stay up and watch your favourite show or simply fitting in one too many Christmas functions....Don't (bah humbug!). Try to get to bed early , have a decent sleep and it will help you make better food choices.

Kate x

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