Improve Your Diet By Getting More Sleep

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/8/2010 10:25 AM   :  123 comments   :  18,072 Views

See More: news, fatigue, sleep, diet,
Do you find that it's easier to stick to your diet when you're well-rested? Is it difficult to stay on track when you're not? New research shows that not getting enough sleep can affect the food choices you make when you're awake. That's just one more reason to make sure you're getting enough shut-eye!

The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health,surveyed over 500 truckers in 8 different locations across the U.S. Truckers were chosen because of the nature of their jobs- long hours, erratic meal times and sleeping patterns, less-than-deal sleeping conditions, etc. What they found was that those truckers who said they got enough sleep to "feel rested upon waking up" reported eating daily, on average, more servings of fruits and vegetables, less sugary drinks and less sugary snacks than drivers who said they didn't get enough sleep. So drivers who got more sleep had healthier diets than those who got less. This study cited previous research which showed sleep restriction leading to increased hunger and appetite. And it wasn't that people just thought they were hungrier, because they really were. The subjects had increased levels of ghrelin (a chemical hunger signal from the stomach) and lower circulating leptin (a chemical satiety signal from the body's fat cells), which together increase appetite.

So what can you do to make sure you're getting enough sleep? Aim for 7-8 hours per night. If you can't get that much, at least work on getting better quality sleep so that you feel well-rested each morning. Regular exercise also helps improve sleep patterns.

Do you find that your diet suffers when you don't get enough sleep? Are you really more hungry, or is something else going on?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   Try the 1-Minute Awareness Test

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 123
    Like others here have said, my nutrition suffers when I don't get enough sleep. I find myself eating more simple carbs like sugars and additional caffeine to keep my energy levels up if I get 5 hours or less a night. I also find that my appetite is increased when I am fatigued so I'm not only making poor choices, but eating too much of the wrong foods as well. - 1/16/2010   10:40:18 AM
  • 122
    I have been trying to get more sleep, at least 7 hours a night, but my cat wakes me up sometimes earlier than I would like. - 1/14/2010   12:25:14 PM
  • 121
    I love to sleep. In fact, I would rather sleep than eat. - 1/13/2010   6:52:34 PM
  • 120
    Correlation does not equal causation. Perhaps those truckers with the better eating habits got more sleep because they were more in tune with their overall health. Did the study control for that? Would be nice to know. - 1/13/2010   3:13:43 PM
  • 119
    I completely agree with this article. Focusing on one thing at a time like getting enough sleep helps us make better choices throughout the day. :) - 1/13/2010   8:48:44 AM
  • 118
    I completely agree with this article. Focusing on one thing at a time like getting enough sleep helps us make better choices throughout the day. :) - 1/13/2010   8:48:28 AM
  • 117
    Oh definitely. If I don't get 8 hours of sleep a night then I catch myself reaching for chocolate, fat, salt, and other things that just take up so many calories. But if I get 8 to 9 hours then I do much better. Plus I feel better.
    - 1/12/2010   3:36:48 PM
  • MKIRKLE
    116
    ALL of my decision making skills suffer if I do not get enough sleep so, of course, that includes my food choices. - 1/11/2010   6:20:57 PM
  • 115
    I agree the more your rested the better you function. the benefit of going to sleep earlier is probably the reduction in my calorie intake....late night snacking is a problem I'm working on..... - 1/11/2010   4:07:24 PM
  • 114
    I don't find that staying up late increases my appetite, I do find though it eventually exhausts me and I cannot be as active as I would be, if I had slept enough. I would be interested in reading more on this subject, specifically in terms of shift work. I know that as a past shift worker, this really did impact my overall health - both emotionally and physically - not to have a regular sleep routine. My main overall issue with sleep is not that I don't get enough, its that I tend to have intense dreams, which at times, cause me to "rock and roll" in bed. I have woken up with my head at the foot of my bed, my feet on my pillows. I have fallen out of bed. I have woken up screaming. I have sat up in the middle of the night orientating myself as I had dreamed so intense that I didn't realize that I was actually awake. All that affects me in a profound manner and utterly exhausts. Its been that way all my life. So even if I do get to bed on time, many nights I still don't have a peaceful sleep and I do believe its does affect my ability to lose weight in a negative manner. - 1/11/2010   3:28:42 PM
  • 113
    I feel much better and usually my appetite is under control when I get as close as I can to 8 hours of sleep per night. - 1/11/2010   1:40:17 PM
  • NYKKY2
    112
    I agree that good sleep is key to success in our weight loss goals, but I work full time, go to school and have a 10 year old daughter at home...I don't often have time to sleep that long. Does anyone have tips for getting "better quality sleep"? - 1/11/2010   12:31:18 PM
  • 111
    I believe there is some truth to this. I find that I'm less "hungry" when I've had a good night's sleep.

    - 1/11/2010   12:24:07 PM
  • 110
    I am working on this! - 1/11/2010   9:44:27 AM
  • 109
    All of these comments have sure enlightened me. I never realized lack of sleep and hunger went together. After reading these, I now know they go hand in hand. I take ambien when I can't shut my mind off, but I hate to do that too often, as I heard you don't sleep in a natural way when it is drug induced, nor do you get that good rest that you get from natural sleep. I notice I dream more when I take the ambien, or Melatonin (or, I remember dreaming). So, I am trying to do more of the natural things in life; ie., making the bed room a place to sleep, not a TV room until I drop off to sleep. So thank you all for the great information. -- Carrie - 1/11/2010   12:45:47 AM
  • 108
    I have sleep apnea, chronic pain syndrome and other pain problems and yes I suffer a lot due to lack of sleep. I be in too much pain to think about eating but I do try and eat .

    The pain also keep me tossing all through the night and I can barely get a nap in.

    This is a very good article. - 1/10/2010   11:04:13 PM
  • 107
    I need my sleep too! Without it I tend to not be as diligent the next day in any of my choices. I want more coffee to wake up, I feel too tired to exervise, I am cranky so I want to comfort myself with food. What a viscous pattern. - 1/10/2010   8:25:03 PM
  • EVACLAIRE
    106
    I don't think that it gets better or worse but I do notice when I get less sleep, much like everyone, my overall functioning suffers. So one could say that my healthy living will suffer too. - 1/10/2010   8:15:46 PM
  • GRANDMO1
    105
    I definitely eat more ( and not healthy items either) when I am tired - 1/10/2010   7:52:39 PM
  • 104
    I am going to show this to my son he is a truck driver who lives (over the road 27 DAYS OF THE MONTH). He is actually losing weight and gaining fitness.
    But he's making lot's of lifestyle changes to accomplish it - 1/10/2010   5:51:35 PM
  • 103
    I STILL HAVE TO GET ALL MY FOOD INSIDE ME...EAT TOO LITTLE AND THAT HURTS...HAVE TO EAT ALL MY CALORIES...DOING BETTER USE TO START UP FOR TWO NIGHT IN ROW NO PILLS JUST COULD DO IT BUT GOT TIRED THE SECOND DAY THREE QUARTER OF THE WAY THROUGH THE DAY SO AS YOU HAVE IT FOR SIX HOURS I HAVE REALLY BEEN TRYING FOR THAT AND CAN'T BELIEVE IT I MADE IT 7, 8 HOURS A FEW TIMES... - 1/10/2010   5:49:05 PM
  • 102
    As I get older, it seems the body doesn't need as much sleep as it once did.
    I feel exercise plays a great part in it. Staying active.
    Also, health problems. Since I have started Body Boot Camp, I find myself getting seven to eight hours, even with a two hour nap during the day.
    Something new, added to my regular exercises.
    Finding that exercising plays a big role to good health, along with neutrition.
    I snack often, on fruit and vegetables, expecially at night which helps me to not over eat.

    Thank you for writing this article and my being able to comment on it.

    Have a sparking day, and best wishes for the new year.

    love and hugs, paula :)
    from: WI
    - 1/10/2010   2:19:34 PM
  • D77IVY
    101
    When I am tired, I absolutely eat more. - 1/10/2010   1:19:04 PM
  • ETHEL_MERMAID
    100
    There's no doubt about it, Jen. This is something that really hit home in college: Whenever I pulled an all-nighter, I had a voracious appetite the next day. - 1/10/2010   11:37:50 AM
  • 99
    I definitely feel more rested and relaxed after 8-9 hours sleep but what woman has time to sleep that much? - 1/10/2010   9:58:16 AM
  • 98
    I've been a bonified insomniac for at least a year now and I can definately tell a difference in my life, activities, work, diet, exercise, etc. I guess I just didn't put the two together. My doc just asked me to try melatonin and we'll see what happens. She also asked me to get more exercise..... - 1/10/2010   9:21:29 AM
  • 97
    Yes when do not get enough sleep seem to think that eating will give me energy and so eat to stay awake which is certainly not the right path for me. - 1/10/2010   8:19:09 AM
  • 4SCOTT
    96
    I WORK NIGHTS 12 HOUR AND MY BODY DOES ONLY WHAT IT WANTS, SOMEDAYS I CAN HARDLY MAKE IT OUT OF BED IN TIME TO GET TO WORK OR I AM UP AT THE CRACK OF DAWN ON MY DAYS OFF. IT IS NEVER CONSISTANT. YES I AM A SLEEPING DISASTER.!!!! - 1/10/2010   3:26:42 AM
  • 95
    I have known the information in the blog to be true for a long time. I do not have any difficulty falling asleep, sleeping well and staying asleep. However, what is amazing to me is reading the comments and finding there are other people who can't, won't, don't go to bed. Member Thersac40 took the words right out of my mouth when she said,

    "My problem is that I have a hard time to get myself to bed. I could be sitting on the living room chair with toothpicks holding my eyelids up and still can't get to bed. Then... I pay for it in the morning. I know what I need to do, but there are times that there's not enough hours in the day and the only time I can get some relax time is when everyone else is in bed. :o( ."

    Like her, even though I think I will be able to "get away with the loss of sleep", as I have gotten older this has become more difficult. Of course, I'm eating inappropriate foods for energy, missing exercise because I'm too tired and then beating myself up. What a negative cycle! I have goals set for bedtime, but this hasn't seemed to work as I seldom meet those goals. Any ideas? - 1/10/2010   1:54:24 AM
  • ADNYLTSEW
    94
    Great article. I am going track my sleep patterns with my tendency to crave and/or eat junk food. With that said, I better get off the computer and go to bed to make sure I get enough sleep tonight. Tomorrow morning I'm going for a one-hour walk with some friends training for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk November 2010 in San Diego. - 1/10/2010   1:44:13 AM
  • 93
    My problem is that I have a hard time to get myself to bed. I could be sitting on the living room chair with toothpicks holding my eyelids up and still can't get to bed. Then... I pay for it in the morning. I know what I need to do, but there are times that there's not enough hours in the day and the only time I can get some relax time is when everyone else is in bed. :o( - 1/9/2010   10:34:35 PM
  • 92
    This article has stimulated my curiosity enough that I think I'll try to track my sleep amounts versus my hunger levels, or at least be more acutely aware of them. - 1/9/2010   9:53:11 PM
  • 91
    I am definitely less interested in high calory foods such as sugary treats when I am well rested. I don't crave coffee as much either. - 1/9/2010   9:16:45 PM
  • JENACCOUNTING
    90
    The amount of sleep that I get plays a big part on how I eat and how I loose weight or gain it. - 1/9/2010   9:06:46 PM
  • 89
    Would like to know how some of my vivid dreams negatively effect my sleep. I felt pretty tired this morning after 2 very vivid dreams. Better now that I've worked hard on the house. - 1/9/2010   9:05:31 PM
  • 88
    Lack of sleep makes it harder for me to stick to my calories goal. I tend to crave sweets more when i don't get enough sleep. - 1/9/2010   7:37:16 PM
  • 87
    I agree absolutly. I used to work nights and go to school during the day and was always hungry, and healthy food did not appeal at all. Now that I work days and sleep at least 7 hours a night, I have far less problems with overeating and fewer cravings for junk food. - 1/9/2010   6:47:38 PM
  • 86
    Lack of sleep makes me irritable, hungrier and just plain not feeling 100%. I try to get at least 6-8 hrs. of sleep a night and man...oh...man, I feel so much better when I do. - 1/9/2010   6:42:55 PM
  • O_C_LADY
    85
    This is my struggle....I have so much insomnia....anyone have any good rest ideas. Nicely said blogger - 1/9/2010   5:59:43 PM
  • 84
    Next to drinking water this is my biggest hurdle not only for weight loss but for maintaining my blood sugars as well.

    -Ralph - 1/9/2010   5:25:48 PM
  • RUDBEKIA
    83
    I am a direct victim of this very fact! If I don't get enough sleep, which is a regular occurence because I work 12-hour night shifts, then I start craving for everything but healthy food! Since I became aware of this though, I have learned to control these cravings and actually learned to eat more fruits, veggies, and low calorie/low fat stuff, and I immediately felt the difference in the way that I was feeling. I also became more disciplined and now force myself to get at least 7 good hours of sleep, and it really does make a difference!
    Here's to a good night sleep!!! - 1/9/2010   5:23:08 PM
  • MOM2MISSO
    82
    I do find that when I wake up earlier and go to bed later, I consume more calories for the day than I should. - 1/9/2010   3:06:10 PM
  • 81
    I know my biggest block to losing weight and keeping it off permanently has been my lack of sleep. I get a lot of intense exercise, every day and watch my calories like a hawk, but that weight came off painfully slow. It took one and a half years to go from 192 to 132. And yet, I put it back on so quickly when I was unable to track my food on vacation and went on a high carb (no choice -nothing else available) diet from my usual tons of fruits and veggies. Even though I was relaxed and having fun, I still couldn't get more than 2-3 hrs broken sleep. Very frustrating! - 1/9/2010   2:25:49 PM
  • 80
    Unfortunately, I have 2 herniated discs and I can't sleep more than 5-6 hours without having to take medication before I go to bed. I don't like doing that because it leaves me groggy in the morning. Yes, I can see why I am having issues with food etc. - 1/9/2010   1:38:38 PM
  • GRANDMARANDI
    79
    Because of pain I do not get eight hours of sleep...but what I do get, there is a difference in the quality of sleep and my hunger the next day. Thank you, now I know why. - 1/9/2010   1:32:52 PM
  • 78
    I definitely tend to reach for junk food and extra coffee much more when I don't get enough sleep. I'm much more prone to reach for a candy bar or snack food when I'm fatigued even though I know the sugar rush will be followed by a crash. - 1/9/2010   1:18:41 PM
  • 77
    I work shift work plus overtime when available it is hard to get 8 good hours of sleep - 1/9/2010   1:17:59 PM
  • 76
    I would love to be able to get 8 hrs of sleep, but with a newborn it's really hard. I'm trying my best lol - 1/9/2010   1:01:52 PM
  • 75
    When I don't get enough sleep I end up hungry all day the following day. No matter what I eat, it's like I can't turn the physical hunger switch off. When I do get actual sleep I feel much better the next day. But over these last few days and weeks, I haven't been able to get the amount I'd like!! - 1/9/2010   12:52:40 PM
  • 74
    I have always felt that my inability to loose weight, in part, was due to lack of sleep. Thank you for confirming it :-) Before I really started focusing on getting more sleep, I averaged between 3 & 4 hours a night. Now I am up to about 6. The way that I changed my behavior is that I am now OK with not finishing all of the housework before I lay down. I have my sons help out & if it doesn't get done-it will be there waiting for me in the morning. :-) - 1/9/2010   12:32:06 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by December 6! Get a FREE Personalized Plan