We all know a good night’s sleep makes us feel pretty awesome, but are you aware of the physical cost of not getting enough decent shut-eye?
A variety of recent studies have shown the negative effects of bad sleep habits – and they go way beyond bags under your eyes.
Take weight gain as an example
A meta-analysis of 11 sleep studies from King’s College London found that after around four hours of sleep, people consumed an average 385 extra calories the next day.
They also consumed more fat and less protein – a combination which can lead to weight gain.
Your bedtime can also play a role, according to another study by researchers at U.C. Berkeley and Columbia University.
Their findings suggest that Body Mass Index goes up with every hour that you put off going to bed – even for people getting eight hours.
Meanwhile, research by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health found that preschool kids that are in bed by 8pm are half as likely to be obese in their teen years as those that went to bed later.
Poor sleep had a range of other repercussions beyond the scales
For example, a study conducted by several European medical schools indicated that men that don’t get enough sleep, or get too much, show an increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
Short duration of sleep is associated with greater risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease and stroke, according to a University of Warwick review.
Meanwhile, a 2017 study of mice by Italy’s Marche Polytechnic University showed severe sleep deprivation caused their brains to feed off their own neurons and synaptic connections. That could potentially explain why chronic lack of sleep could increase risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.
The long and short of it
Make sure you have healthy sleeping habits. But that can be easier said than done.
Avoiding low fibre, high fat and sugary foods can be a start, according to a study by Columbia University. These foods were found to lead to waking at night and less time in “slow wave sleep” – the crucial phase when the body replenishes itself.
Exercise has also been found to improve sleep quality. A study showed moderate aerobic exercise or high intensity resistance exercise to be beneficial for middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems.
Are you getting enough shut-eye?