Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is vital to maintaining good health. Studies have shown that a sleep deprived brain reacts much like one that is intoxicated with alcohol. Chronic and severe sleep deprivation has been linked to diabetes, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. On the less severe side, lack of sleep can cause the inability to focus, make sound decisions, and inhibits basic body functions. The most common concern for many people is how a bad nights sleep will prevent weight loss.
A tired body is a stressed body. Stress related hormones are then released into your body to cope. Cortisol, for example, allows the body to conserve energy in a "fight or flight" response to lack of sleep. In other words, your body wants to hang on to fat! The imbalance of other stress hormones (ghrelin and leptin) can cause you to feel hungry and unsatisfied when you are really in need of more zzz's. Then there is insulin, the master of hormones and a key player for your metabolism. Even a few days of insufficient sleep can negatively affect your insulin production and the body's response. This is cause for concern because insulin controls how your body handles fat and sugar in your blood. When it cannot process that fat and sugar, your body then converts the excess to body fat.
A person that is sleepy can lack the mental fortitude it takes to make good eating decisions. When I used to wake up exhausted, my first thought was how many cups of sugar-laden coffee I was going to have that day. Tired people also have a tendency to snack more than well rested people.
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