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Sleep and wellbeing

We’ve all been told that we should eat better and exercise more. But what does that really mean and why do so many of us still feel so tired, deflated and stressed?  

We often forget to address the third part of the health puzzle; sleep.

Sleep is responsible for rejuvenating the body and mind, and is essential for good mental and physical health. Lack of sleep is known to be linked with low mood, poor overall mental health, memory problems and an inability to lose weight.

Are you the type of person who needs a coffee to coax you out of bed in the morning? Or maybe you need an afternoon ‘pick me up’ in the form of a coffee, caffeinated soft drink or a chocolate bar? You’re not alone.

In our fast-paced, stressful lifestyles, coffee, soda and chocolate bars have become staples of everyday diets. How did caffeine become the drug (and food)of choice?

The association between sleep and overall wellbeing

Lack of sleep creates a vicious cycle – the more tired you become, the more caffeine you’ll consume to stay awake during the day. This is dangerous because the more caffeine you consume, the harder it is to fall asleep at night, causing you to wake up tired and continue the cycle.  

For people suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), diet and sleep go hand-in-hand.

Diet plays a huge role in the severity of GERD, therefore if the diet is poor, the reflux will often be exacerbated. Furthermore, GERD sufferers often experience night-time heartburn, which can impact on sleep quality and cause ongoing fatigue

Foodis also related to sleep quality in regards to appetite and metabolism.Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep often have larger appetites due to lower leptin levels.

Leptin is a hormone that is responsible for regulating appetite. In sleep deprived individuals, leptin production falls, resulting in poor appetite control and subsequent weight gain.  

Perhaps most surprisingly, the psychological manifestations of fatigue, sleep and hunger are all very similar. This means that when you’re feeling tired, you might feel like you need to head for the fridge for a snack instead of to bed.

So, next time you’re wondering about how you can feel better, stronger and more energised, remember to focus on diet, exercise AND sleep.

 

 

Written By Esther Rijk, Dietitian
Do you want to know more? Contact Esther at rijkesther@gmail.com