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Sleep regulates energy, hunger, mood

Alicia Colombo

Are you getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night? If not, you may be limiting your health potential, according to research by the National Council on Aging. Sleep and wake cycles are key to regulating energy, hunger and mood.

Sleep – or lack of it – can have wide-ranging impacts on how your body functions. Sleep regulates hormones that influence appetite. Inadequate sleep disrupts these hormones, making you feel hungrier throughout the day and less likely to feel satiated.

Increased hunger is often associated with snacking. Research showed people who sleep less tend to snack on high-carbohydrate foods, like candy, to create more energy during the day.

Exercise and food can influence your circadian rhythms, which are the body’s way of regulating sleep, hunger, hormones and other important functions. If you’re trying to align sleep with weight, here are some tips:

  • When in doubt, move about: Physical activity during the day regulates misaligned circadian rhythms.
  • Perform vigorous activities early: Schedule the most strenuous activities for the morning. High-intensity exercise can elevate the heart rate and release stress hormones.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast: Aim to eat most of your daily calories at the beginning of your day. A large, high-protein breakfast and smaller subsequent meals improve blood sugar control in diabetics and can decrease your appetite for the remainder of the day.
  • Opt for earlier dinners: Eating dinner close to bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, schedule your dinner a few hours before sleep to allow your body to digest your food (and avoid nighttime heartburn).
  • Establish a regular meal pattern: Pick a consistent meal schedule and stick to it. Your eating pattern can influence your circadian rhythm, including your sleep and metabolic patterns.

(Source: National Council on Aging)

Categories: Health


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