Firstly, if anyone can find research that can prove what “enough” sleep is, then please send it to me! There are numerous ideas…
http://www.menshealth.com/spotlight/sleep/8-hours.php – 6 20 minute naps to replace your 8 hours? …No thanks!
http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm – 7.5 – 9 hours
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need – a magic number of hours, personal to you, but not too many hours, or that’s bad for you too.
In the short term, sleep deprivation can decrease an individual’s quality of life; decrease performance, alertness, memory and cognitive processes and it also increases the risk of accidents and injury.
In the long term, side effects range from high blood pressure and heart attacks, to mental impairment and obesity.
It’s not just the negative cycle of waking up tired and instinctively reaching for the nearest thing that’s going to help increase your energy. If you’re not getting enough hours sleep your metabolism doesn’t work properly.
There are 2 key hormones affected by sleep deprivation. Ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is the “go hormone” that tells you when to eat, and the levels of ghrelin increase when you’re sleep deprived.
Leptin is the “stop hormone” that tells you when to stop eating, and the levels of leptin decrease when you’re sleep deprived.
More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. As you’re eating more and your metabolism is slower.
And the bad news get worse, a recent study shows you’re more likely to crave fast food when you’re sleep deprived too. Previous studies have linked poor sleep to increased appetites, particularly for sweet and salty foods, but this study explains how specific brain mechanism cause an individual’s food choices to change for the worse following a sleepless night.
A bad night’s sleep impairs the frontal lobe of your brain, responsible for decision making and the effects of rewards. So if you’re tired, you may know junk food is bad for you, but you also know how much you’re going to enjoy eating it!
So it’s not all bad news, if you are capable of changing your sleeping habits for the better then getting enough sleep is one factor that can help promote weight control by changing the brain mechanisms governing appropriate food choices.