It's no secret that lack of sleep can have some serious adverse effects on your health. From fatigue to mood swings and feeling super cranky, lack of sleep can make you feel awful and can even make basic chores seem like a task. Now, as if that wasn't bad enough, a study has found that it can even affect your diet and cardiovascular health.
As per the study, women who don't get enough sleep tend to overeat and have a low-quality diet in general which is obviously not doing their health any favours. A previous study had even found a link between lack of sleep, obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that sleep problems seemed to be very common in women with about 40% of them suffering from sleep-related issues.
Lead author of the study, Brooke Aggarwal and her team opted to analyse eating habits and sleep patterns of a bunch of women. For the study, they looked at 495 women aged 20 to 76, hailing from different backgrounds and ethnicities. They then looked at factors like sleep quality, duration of time it took to fall asleep and whether anyone suffered from insomnia.
It was found that women with bad sleep patterns tended to consume more sugar as compared to women who slept well. Those who took longer to fall asleep ate more as compared to other women and women with insomnia consumed even more food. It was also found that poor sleep was associated with lower intake of whole grains.
“We think that poor quality sleep may alter hunger and fullness signals. For example, by elevating levels of ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and decreasing levels of leptin, which reduces satiety,” said Aggarwal. “It’s also been shown that poor sleep can change brain activity, particularly in the reward centres of the brain, such that the motivation and desire for food are increased, which could lead to overeating.”
“Sleep is an incredibly important part of our life, and unfortunately many Americans do not give it the attention that it deserves,” said an expert. “A typical adult needs approximately 8 hours of sleep each night and there are many different reasons why many of us don’t achieve that.” He also added that people who suffer from lack of sleep should try to consume more healthy foods.
“Staying away from processed foods is strongly advised as they contain many of the things that you want to avoid,” he said. “I direct my patients to read about the Mediterranean diet, as it is very palatable and has been shown to be associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality.”