Note: this is an updated version of an older post in light of the COVID-19 restrictions.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a disruptive time in a great many ways; limiting our ability to travel, see people and even do our work. For a lot of us, it’s meant adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of working from home. It’s also had a real impact on the nation’s sleep cycle, with COVID-related stress and anxiety making it harder for many people to get to sleep and wake up feeling rested.
In addition to having a real impact on productivity, the combination of tiredness and doing work only a few metres from the fridge can lead to another unhealthy consequence: snacking.
What does bad sleep have to do with chocolate cravings? Well, the two phenomena are linked in three different ways:
3. Bad sleep hygiene
Now I know some of those words sound like complete gibberish but it’s actually pretty interesting.
Ghrelin is one of two hormones (the other being leptin) that regulates hunger. Ghrelin increases your appetite, while leptin lowers it. And when you don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin spikes while leptin falls, leaving you wanting that leftover slice of cake.
But the sleep-deprivation-induced-cake-craving isn’t just because of hunger. It’s also a result of that second gibberish word: endocannabinoid. Endocannabinoid is a lipid found in the blood which is increased after a lack of sleep. This increase affects the brain in such a way that it makes the experience of eating food more enjoyable, and causes the body to crave more fatty, sugary foods.
The third factor of not having good sleep hygiene, simply means that since someone is sleeping less than they should be, they are awake to eat food for longer in the day. Getting a full night’s rest eliminates a good chunk of potential eating time.
Studies on sleep deprivation and appetite have been done on both men and women, and clearly show that a lack of sleep will increase appetite, and potentially lead to a significant increase in weight over time.
The effects of sleep deprivation are many, but suffice to say that ultimately, not getting enough sleep will have dire consequences for the quality and length of your life. What might seem like a simple bad night’s sleep and a craving for some chocolate cake, if continuing, can have some serious, serious consequences.
If you have trouble sleeping, or getting enough sleep, then please get in touch with us. A chat with one of our sleep technicians is all it takes to start your journey to better sleep.
You can also check out our blog post here for some tips on how you can be sleeping well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This blog post is from Keystone Medical Media, a sub-entity of Keystone Content.