Sleep Deprivation Is Ruining Your Results | Enliven Nutrition
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Sleep Deprivation Is Ruining Your Results

Why sleep deprivation is ruining your results is unfortunately not the focus of many dietitians.

When I ask our clients how much sleep do you get each night, they usually give me a puzzled look as if to say, aren’t I here to talk about food? No, I haven’t lost my mind, but actually research is showing us that sleep deprivation can lead to excessive calorie intake the following day. Most people have been sleep deprived at one time or another, shift workers, university students and new parents are some of those I’m sure that can relate!

How do you get through the day if you are sleep deprived?

Do you head straight for the high calorie, sugar dense foods?

Sleep Deprivation

Studies have shown that individuals who have reduced sleep or sleep deprivation have higher calorie intake, particularly through snacking. Individuals tend to head for the high fat, high calorie fast food rather than fruits and vegetables in this instance. As with anyone who has excessive calorie intake, this increase in nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods ultimately leads to weight gain. Furthermore, when we are fatigued motivation for physical activity can also be lacking and when combined with an excessive calorie intake weight gain often results.

The actual mechanism behind why this happens to individuals remains largely unknown. However it is understood that hormonal changes do occur in sleep deprivation, in particular it is thought that our appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin are altered.

Nutrition and Sleep Deprivation

Just because you eat more, doesn’t actually mean you are getting a balanced diet or the nourishment you need. Rarely do you crave cucumber and broccoli! Rather those with poor sleep often have diets low in vegetables and fish and high in refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks. Having a wholesome balanced diet, incorporating the key food groups and avoiding the sugar laden empty calories is beneficial on multiple levels. Eating the right foods and avoiding the high calorie foods can help promote sleep.

Getting Enough Sleep

It is such a vicious cycle, as when you’re truly tired you tend to have more caffeine and high energy foods to help you stay awake. However it is actually those foods which hinder your ability to fall asleep at night whilst providing a wealth of empty calories!

Our requirements for sleep change over the childhood years but by the time we are 18 – 20 years old are requirements remain steady. In general, individuals 18 – 64 years old require 7- 9 hours sleep per night.

Tips for getting adequate sleep:

  1. Regulate your body clock by having a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake at the same time each day. This can help to fall asleep at night.
  2. Create a relaxing bedtime routine and avoid stress
  3. Avoid using technology, phones, tablets, laptops and TV before bed.
  4. Exercise daily, even if only light exercise but avoid exercise right before bedtime.
  5. Go to sleep when you are genuinely tired. If you aren’t tired and can’t fall asleep this usually ends in frustration.
  6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine prior to bedtime.

For more information on how optimising your sleep can enhance your pathway towards your goals, or to set a structured nutrition plan why not book a consultation with one of our experienced dietitians today!