When one has a to-do list that is way too long, it may seem convenient to put sleep at the bottom of the agenda. However, the importance of a good night’s sleep is often undermined. Not having a sufficient amount of sleep allows the metabolism to slow down, which ultimately leads to weight gain.
Lack of sleep can also cause individuals to participate in a daunting cycle that involves two hormones known as leptin and ghrelin. The leptin hormone, which is responsible for letting our bodies know that we should stop eating, decreases when an individual does not obtain a sufficient amount of sleep. Inversely, the ghrelin hormone, also known as the “hunger hormone”, which causes hunger in individuals, increases when you are sleep deprived. Keep in mind that setting a strict limit on the number of hours you clock in every night is not the only factor that you need to consider. Rather, the quality of sleep you receive is also imperative to your health. A decent amount and type of sleep can improve an individual’s health and improve one’s output. So, investing time into getting a good night's sleep is an asset to your health.
Here are some possible solutions to help you obtain a good night's sleep.
1. Avoid caffeine: When you are sleep deprived it is understandable that you may seek comfort foods because the boost for the day is needed. Although the comfort foods may give you “fake energy” throughout the day, they will keep you up at night. Caffeine is an alarming substance because it can be addicting. It may start innocently, with a simple cup of coffee, with which you get a jump start to your day, however, you can fall prey to the cycle and build a physical dependence on caffeine. Caffeine restricts sleep-inducing chemicals and increases adrenaline, which overall has detrimental effects on your body and decreases the quantity and quality of your sleep.
2. Exercise: Exercise can also be an influential factor in improving sleep. An intense workout is not the goal. You want to relax your body with some light exercises. For example, a small jog or mild yoga, can relieve stress and tension in your body and give way to a more comforting night of sleep.
3. No big meals before bed: Eating a big meal before bed can cause reflux or acid build up in your stomach. A big meal can not only cause discomfort but it can also increase your metabolism which will cause a restlessness and a subsequently a lack of sleep. Ironically this lack of sleep will cause your metabolism to slow down which will eventually lead to weight gain.
4. Time management: Time management is essential for individuals, especially for students, because it is necessary for them to get enough sleep and watch their weight in a time where they are growing. Sleep will certainly aid the developing human body. On the whole, managing time well will allow you to prioritize your sleep.
To find out more about sleep and how it impacts your weight you can visit sleepfoundation.org.
A closer look at Teens sleeping habits
Teenagers in high school may disagree with one another in a numerous array of topics, however one thing that seems to be a common ground for many teens is the need for sleep. The table above displays a survey of 40 students (10 per grade level) from Tottenville High School in New York City who answered the question of how many hours of sleep they get on an average school night. Adolescents need 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep per night and the table above clearly demonstrates how fellow classmates are certainly not even near those hours. The most populous area seems to be the 4 to 6 hour range. Ironically, among all 40 students there was not one individual who could attest to meeting the number of hours they should be sleeping per night. When conducting this survey, the reasons for not getting enough sleep were also asked and there were a variety of answers. Some said that they were up doing school work while others said that it was just a habit. Teachers may take disciplinary action against students dozing off or not being able to concentrate in class, but it can be concluded that many teens need to work on time management and start to prioritize the amount of time they sleep for their better health.