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Sleep affects your health more than you may think

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

When people talk about weight loss, a lot of times the focus is on cutting calories and exercising more. Now, experts are saying sleep may also play an important role in the health of each individual, especially in areas such as weight gain and overall quality of life.

According to USA Today, sleep deprivation can play an enormous part in changes in weight, and can affect many different processes within the body.

"Our body is not wired for sleep deprivation," explains Eve Van Cauter, who is the director of the Sleep, Metabolism, and Health Center at the University of Chicago. "The human is the only mammal that does this."

Some of the changes that can occur within the body from sleep deprivation include increased levels of hunger due to the hormone ghrelin, consuming almost 300 extra calories, more eating and less movement, and consuming more calories than what is needed to cover the cost of using energy while awake.

When people are tired, they tend to lean more towards foods full of carbs, starches, and salts, reports the Lexinton Herald-Leader. These types of food provide quick energy, which is what the body is craving when deprived, but are not satisfying and can lead to weight gain, as the person will need to continue to eat more frequently to keep energy levels up.

Researchers suggest going to bed and waking up at the same time each night, regardless of the day of the week. It is also suggested not to eat or use electronics close to bedtime. This allows the body to relax naturally and make it easier to fall asleep.

 
 

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