To keep up with the demands of a busy life, you know that you need good nutrition to keep you going. However, your eating habits are influenced by more than your food choices. Sleep plays a powerful role in appetite control and metabolism, not to mention many other aspects of your health. By making sleep a priority, you’ll give yourself a head start on healthy eating and building the energy you need to keep up with your busy life.
Sleep and Your Appetite
At first glance, sleep and appetite may not seem related but sleep deprivation changes the way the body functions. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep and anytime you get less, you enter some state of sleep deprivation. During sleep deprivation, the hunger hormone ghrelin gets released in higher amounts than normal. At the same time, the body releases less of the satiety hormone leptin so it takes longer to feel full.
The rewards center of the brain changes as well. When you’re tired, it gets a bigger “hit” from cookies, chips, candy, and other sugar packed, high-fat foods. The body craves those foods to get the next hit. The cravings you feel during sleep deprivation are similar to the munchies experienced while using marijuana because they affect the same parts of the brain. Those can be tough cravings to ignore. Essentially, if you’re trying to maintain a well-balanced diet, lack of sleep can get in the way of your goals.
How to Get Better (and More) Sleep
The thought of getting seven consecutive hours of sleep probably makes most moms laugh. Night wakings might make it seem impossible, but there are many things you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
1)Take a Nap: More often than not, if you’re a mom, you’re getting woken up during the night. A short nap during the day can counteract many of the effects of sleep deprivation. You don’t need too long, anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes can be enough to help keep you going and reduce cravings.
2)Try to Be Consistent: As your circumstances allow, try to keep a consistent bedtime. Your body will adjust to your sleep schedule and automatically start releasing sleep hormones on time.
3)Turn Off Screens: After you’re done with your day, can be nice to let your mind zone out and mindlessly scroll through social media on your phone or binge watch Netflix. However, the bright light from electronics can suppress the release of sleep hormones, delaying the onset of sleep.
4)Get Comfortable: Part of your sleep challenge will surround getting comfortable at night. A cool bedroom kept between 60 to 68 degrees works for most people. You might need a pillow designed to alleviate back pain or a cooling pillow if you’re sleeping too hot.
You need to be taking good care of yourself if you want to take care of the people around you. Getting adequate sleep can be what you need to make better food choices and help give you the energy you need to keep up with your busy lifestyle, whether that involves your baby’s changing needs or a challenging career.
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