Sleep more to eat less

2015-08-26 06:00

EATING and sleeping are both essential to survival. These processes are deeply intertwined, because the same part of the brain plays a role in both the regulation of sleep and metabolism and their interaction.

Sleeping enough may not be at the top of your priority list, but you might need to reconsider. Research indicates that too little sleep may increase appetite and lead to weight gain.

A new study supports this by reporting that decreased sleep is linked to increased hunger and appetite, which is in turn linked to an increased risk of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Insomnia can also affect eating habits and behaviours, as well as our ability to perform our daily tasks.

Eating habits are driven by biological, emotional, cognitive and environmental factors.

According to a recent study, sleeping patterns influence all four these factors. When you are sleep deprived, the hormone responsible for controlling your appetite is affected, resulting in more emotional and impulsive behaviour, leading to a greater desire for food and a decreased desire to partake in physical activity, in order to compensate for a lack in energy.

A healthy lifestyle should therefore emphasise the importance of adequate rest during the night.

) Hannelise van Emmenis is a fourth-year Dietetics student at the University of the Free State (UFS)

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