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Sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who do not receive the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) recommended seven to nine hours of sleep make themselves susceptible to many negative health impacts. These include increased risk of heart disease and type II diabetes, weight gain, depressed mood and even fatigue.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, try changing your before-bed diet. Items that release tryptophan into your body (like turkey, causing the infamous Thanksgiving nap) help to aid your sleep, and eating foods with carbohydrates allows the tryptophan to become more accessible to the brain. Also, contrary to common belief, alcohol is a poor sleeping aid. While it does make you drowsy, it can also interrupt the sleep pattern throughout the night.
But just as what you eat before bed affects your sleep, your sleep patterns affect your eating habits. Studies have shown that those who are sleep deprived are not only more likely to more fat-rich foods, but also consume more simple carbohydrates and fewer vegetables. This is possibly because sleep loss alters chemical signals connected to metabolism and hunger. In fact, some researchers believe sleep deprivation to be a factor in the rising rates of obesity.
Nonetheless, sleep deprivation should not be left untreated. If you are struggling in the area of sleep, MedBen WellLiving suggests seeing your family physician as soon as possible.
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SOURCE: National Sleep Foundation