Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
There is a clear link between lack of sleep and things like poor brain function, obesity, heart disease and headaches. In fact significant research identifies that sleep deprivation and the resultant poor brain function, is a contributory factor in obesity, because those affected tend to eat more calories during the day. So, if you regularly get less than 6 hours of sleep a day in the course of your week, you could be giving your body a real kicking!
Charles Samuels, MD, medical director of the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary, Alberta, says “We have very substantial research that shows if you shorten or disturb sleep, you increase your appetite for high-calorie dense foods. On a simplistic level, your appetite changes”.
Two specific hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, play critical roles in your body to control appetite and satiety. Ghrelin causes you to eat by stimulating appetite, while Leptin helps you to stop eating by telling your brain that you are full and suppressing your appetite. In a normally functioning brain, these two hormones are released appropriately to regulate feelings of hunger, however the research has shown that lack of sleep can alter Ghrelin and Leptin levels, fundamentally shifting the balance in favour of Ghrelin causing you to eat more calories.
There were also effects on inflammation and the immune system that can lead to other health problems such as diabetes. In fact not getting enough sleep alters hundreds of genes, fundamentally changing the chemistry of the human body. Sleeping enough hours a day is critical to rebuilding and repairing the body, and if we don’t give the body long enough to do just that, then it can lead to degenerative diseases.
For optimal health, the target is to obtain between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a day. So, try to get a few early nights per week, so that you and the cells of your brain and body can enjoy a well earned lovely lie in!