Getting adequate amounts of sleep each night is essential when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. I know that when I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t feel my best. I then can’t focus and I certainly don’t try and eat like I should.

Not getting enough sleep can make you feel hungrier and crave more sweet and salty foods. Sleep deprived people tend to eat about 550 more calories per day. Adequate sleep helps to decrease the feeling of hunger. That deep sleep restores energy and regulates your appetite. Those who get enough sleep each night tend to take in fewer calories, fat and carbs which result in weight loss. Overall, deep sleepers tend to have healthier eating patterns.

Lack of sleep causes the body to decrease levels of leptin and increase levels of ghrelin in the body, making you feel extra hungry. These hormones play a huge part in our ability to lose weight. Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells and suppresses the feeling of hunger. When this decreases, you have the feeling of hunger. Ghrelin is released by the stomach and stimulates the appetite. So, when this increases, you have an increased appetite. The opposite is also true… Adequate sleep decreases the feeling of hunger. Therefore, getting enough sleep each night will keep your hormones regulated.

Tips to get more sleep:

  • Develop a routine. A warm bath, quite music are all things you can do each night to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Create an atmosphere that will help you sleep. Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Select a comfortable mattress and pillow. Don’t have the T.V. on or play on a cell phone.
  • Gradually cut back caffeine intake. Try to stop drinking caffeine by 11 am.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can disrupt sleep.
  • Eat a lower fat dinner 3 hours before sleep. This helps improve digestion.
  • Avoid heavy, greasy, sugary and spicy foods — which causes indigestion.
  • Avoid drinking fluids 2 hours before sleep. This will help prevent you from waking up having to use the restroom during the night.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 times per week.

Your goal should be to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Foods that promote better sleep

There arm many chemicals, amino acids, enzymes, nutrients, and hormones that work together to promote good sleep and regulate the sleep cycle. These include tryptophan, melatonin, calcium, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants, just to name a few.

Even though there’s a number of foods that contain low levels of these sleep-promoting compounds, only some have high concentrations that could potentially affect a person’s sleep cycle. Based on research, some of the most helpful are almonds, warm milk, kiwi, chamomile tea, walnuts, tart cherries, and fatty fish.

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