Most people know that sleep helps restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems; these are vital processes that maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function, and play a large role in the function of the endocrine system.
But for some reason, we still see sleep as unproductive time. One more episode of a TV show, an extra chapter of that book we are reading, another 45 minutes of scrolling through social media.
Research suggests that anywhere from 35 to 40% of a population may be getting insufficient sleep, and that’s a real concern because we know that insufficient sleep is linked to just about every chronic disease.
Some recent research by Dr. Robin Tucker from Michigan State University, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition in regards to impacts of sleep on taste perception, cravings and food reward has shown people who had only a few hours less sleep than the recommended amount of 7-9 hours, experienced increased hunger, increased food cravings, and people were putting more on their plate than normal. The findings also showed that what they were eating/ craving was high fat, high sugar foods – which means higher calorie content and people tended to actually eat more than their normal portion of that food. So instead of feeling satisfied with 4 or 5 square of chocolate, they were eating 7 or 8 squares.
The impact of sleep curtailment on sweet taste perception is also really interesting. After sleep curtailment, the preferred concentration of sweetness went up by about 45%, meaning higher calories for the same pleasure hit you would get if you had adequate sleep.
The bottom line…..get your sleep to help make living a healthier lifestyle easier for yourself.
This article was written by Alisha Miles, Prevention Manager, Diabetes WA.