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Did you know that having less than seven hours of sleep each night has been linked with weight gain? So often we ignore the importance of sleep – focusing on the deadline we need to hit, or the TV show we have to finish. Here’s why you should start paying attention to your sleep patterns!
The Sleep Foundation has found that people not getting enough sleep eat twice as much fat, and more than 300 extra calories the next day compared to those getting eight hours of zzzz’s. That’s more than a whole Be Fit Food meal in additional calories per day!
Some other ways that lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain include:
• Increased level of your hunger hormone which means increased appetite
• Increased cravings for high carbohydrate and high calorie foods (think sugars and fat)
• Decreasing metabolism meaning an increased storage of body fat
• Tiredness and less energy
• Stress hormones rise
Luckily, there are some proven things we can do to easily improve the quality of our sleep. These include:
A high-quality diet including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, and fish has a positive effect on stress hormones which help to promote deeper sleep. Also eating low glycemic index carbohydrates – like in the Be Fit Food meals – promote balanced blood sugar levels and create a healthier stress hormone pattern, which also improves sleep quality. Low glycemic index (GI) foods include wholegrain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and legumes.
Although alcohol intake may make us feel sleepy, drowsy or more relaxed it actually has a negative effect on sleep quality! It disrupts the natural sleep and wake cycle called the circadian rhythm and blocks you from entering the deep and restorative REM sleep.
Exercise can improve both the quality of sleep and how long you sleep for, by reducing stress and tiring you out! It’s important to get the timing of physical activity right, so you aren’t sweating it out and elevating your heart rate just before bed as the hormones released after exercising can make you feel awake – so try to incorporate your movement well before bedtime if you can.
Be Fit Food is not just about the actual food, it’s about how you feel and as you can see, there are lots of different factors involved in that – including sleep! Our dietitians can help you to optimize your lifestyle to best support your health, and really are here for you every step of the way.
Dietitian consultations are free, over-the-phone, appointments that can be booked online and you can book these at any stage in your journey – we want to help you feel great again!
Before starting a new way of eating, we encourage you to seek medical advice and undertake a medical check-up, particularly if you have a medical condition and/or are taking medications.
Our dietitians are here to support you on your health journey, whether you want to lose 2kg or 20kg! Consultations are done over the phone and take around 15 minutes. So pop on the kettle, and book a chat with one of our team, to start planning how you can eat yourself better.SPEAK TO A DIETITIAN
1. Wilson C, Hodgson J, Murphy K. A randomised controlled intervention trial evaluating the efficacy of a Mediterranean dietary pattern on cognitive function and psychological wellbeing in healthy older adults: the MedLey study. BMC Geriatr 2015;15:55.
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