Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

The Link Between Diet and Sleep

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people these days fall short on their much-needed sleep. Whether it is by choice due to a need for technology, or if it is due to insomnia, the struggle with a lack of sleep is real. If you are unable to get sleep, but are trying to do so each night, it may be a good idea to take a look at your diet, focusing on your intake of caffeinated and sugar-sweetened drinks.

Recent studies have found that people who sleep under five hours each night tend to drink 21% more sugary caffeinated beverages than those who slept the recommended seven to eight hours each night.

People who slept six hours each night also consumed 11% more sugary drinks than those who slept longer. However, the study notes that it is unclear whether people are unable to sleep due to the caffeine intake or they choose to drink more caffeine because they are unable to sleep. A small amount of sleep may influence one’s cravings for sugared caffeinated drinks. There is most likely a positive loop where sleep loss and sugary drinks reinforce one another, which makes it more difficult for people to stop their unhealthy sugar habits.

Sleep Deprivation and Excess Sugar Lead to Metabolic Disease

Drinking beverages that contain excess sugar increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Data has shown that drinking over 8.45 ounces of sugary drinks each day increases one’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 18%. Poor sleep can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that getting proper sleep is important for the prevention and treatment of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Sleep influences the body’s ability to eat in moderation and maintain its balance of energy.

Studies have even found that infants who get inadequate sleep tend to eat more, placing them at an increased risk of obesity and other health problems in the future.

Sleep Less and Eat More

Research has shown that people who only get four hours of sleep per night tend to eat an average of 385 additional calories throughout the day than if they had a full night’s sleep. This may be due to the decrease of leptin in the body, which is a hormone that lets the mind know the body is satisfied. Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation can increase the desire to eat, which can also increase one’s intake of sugary drinks.

Sleeping Better Can Help With Weight Loss

For people struggling with losing weight, getting more sleep could help in the quest to lose weight. Studies have already found patterns with short and long sleepers and their dietary habits. People who sleep less eat a small variety of food and are less hydrated than those who sleep more. Short sleepers also eat more unhealthy calories.

People who sleep over nine hours tend to consume the fewest calories and total carbs, but have the widest variety in their diets. Eating a variety of foods may be one key to proper sleep hygiene.

Light and Sleep

People are programmed biologically to sleep when it is dark outside and wake when there is light. Exposing oneself to artificial light at night can interfere with your circadian rhythm, decreasing the quality of sleep.

Exposure to computer and smartphone screens at night suppresses the production of melatonin and the brain’s message to be tired. To improve the quality of sleep you are getting, in addition to watching your sugar and caffeine intake, be aware of the times of day you are subjecting your eyes to blue lights.

It is also important to make sure that your bedroom is pitch dark and not too warm, as these issues can also interfere with sleep.

33% of People Are Lacking Sleep

Recent studies have shown that 1 in 3 U.S. adults do not get adequate sleep, meaning they sleep for less than seven hours each night. The disruptions that are caused by a lack of proper rest put stress on the body and worsen existing health problems. Poor sleep can result in health problems such as:

  • diabetes
  • stomach ulcers
    exacerbate existing chronic conditions, such as Parkinson?s disease, Alzheimer?s disease, MS, GI disorders,and cancer

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • constipation

If you find that you are not getting adequate quality sleep, take a look at all of the factors of your day and alter them until you find the right regimen to enhance your sleep.

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Frank Salvatore