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Improve Your Diet By Getting More Sleep

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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