Friday, January 15, 2016

Flavorful Friday: The link between Obesity and Sleep

Hi friends!

I come to you today with another study.  This time, it is about the link between obesity and a lack of sleep (if you didn't catch that in the title...).

All joking aside, the link is real. In this study, published on December 11, 2015, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers were looking at the values between reduced sleep (less than 7 hours per night) and obesity.  Wheat they found was that a lack of sleep led to increased mindless eating and drinking.

In my own dietetics practice and personal life, I have definitely noticed that a lack of sleep seems to be a trend among many people. Think about the last time you got less sleep than you are used to. How did you feel the next day? Were you tired, more cranky, or more easily agitated than normal? Maybe you had different eating habits or drank more caffeine? If any of these scenarios sounds like you, you are not alone! Not too many people get the required amount of sleep their body needs. As a species, we are constantly going going going and doing doing doing.

But sleep is for the weak!

Well, I am here to let you know that this is just not true. As a matter of fact, it may even be the exact opposite is true. As seen in the article, sleep plays a large role in our health, whether we want to believe it or not. You may feel just fine after a few nights of little sleep, but your body is doing more work than you know to make up for it.
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If you are one of the many people that has a hard time getting to sleep, here are some of my suggestions:

  • Have a night time routine- This really helped my husband, who has insomnia. By having a routine, you are basically telling your body that it is time to unwind and relax. The more routine and monotonous, the better.
  • Sip some herbal tea- As part of your evening routine, there is something comforting and calming in a cup of tea.
  • Eat a good meal 3-4 hours before you go to bed. This will allow enough time for the meal to at least partially digest before you go to sleep. Sometimes, the process of digestion is what keeps people up at night.
  • Listen to calming music, maybe even do some light yoga or stretching. Both of these activities help to calm down tense muscles and over active minds.
What things help you to sleep better? Let me know in the comments!