Sleep Well, Dine Well

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

-Virginia Wolf

18,000,000 Americans have sleep apnea (Sleeping. Stop. Breathing).1 I compare this to pressing the snooze button on your alarm. My first alarm is set for 6:55 am. With my eyes still closed, I press snooze. Silence for five minutes, only to be broken by my 7:00 am alarm sounding. I press snooze again. Pressing snooze allows nine minutes of peace; so therefore, a third alarm sounds at 7:04 am. Somehow, between each of these alarms disrupting me, I fall back asleep. Imagine this throughout the entire night. Not too high of quality of sleep for someone.

Interestingly enough, research has shown appetite is directly related to sleep deprivation. When sleep-deprived, appetite increases due to a decrease in a hormone called leptin2.

 According to the ever-reliable source, Merriam-Webster dictionary, leptin is, “a peptide hormone that is produced by fat cells and plays a role in body weight regulation by acting on the hypothalamus to suppress appetite and burn fat stored in adipose tissue”. Basically, leptin controls cravings. This would be ideal if leptin caused increases in cravings for kale and Brussel sprouts; however, this is not the case.  Rather, it boosts your cravings for calorie dense foods, especially those with carbohydrates2.

Donuts for breakfast? Yes, please.

Could you be sleep deprived? If so, a 20% decrease in leptin levels results in a 24% increase in hunger and appetite3.

How can you alter your leptin and steer clear of the always tempting cookie jar? High-quality sleep!

  1. “Diet, Exercise and Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation. N.p, Dec. 2009. Web. 6 May 2015. <http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/diet-exercise-and-sleep>.
  2. Spiegel K, Tasali E, Penev P, Cauter EV. Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:846-850. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-11-200412070-00008
  3. Taheri, et al., “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index, “PLOS Medicine 1, no. 3 (December 2004): e62.

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