A meta-review of medical research covering almost a million participants has highlighted the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Adults sleeping less than 5 hours compared with 7–8 hours per day, increased their risk of obesity by up to 40%. The mechanism for this link is not fully known, but hypotheses include increased hunger for fatty foods (higher ghrelin and lower leptin levels), reduced thyroid function (lower TSH and T4 levels), altered eating habits and reduced physical activity (as a result of daytime fatigue).
In addition, previous studies have demonstrated a associations between short sleep duration and diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Therefore, there are plenty of good reasons to get enough sleep! Some tips on sleeping include:
- Reduce distractions. Eliminate noise, bright light and screen time prior to bed.
- Relax. Getting to sleep and getting quality sleep needs a relaxed mind and body. Find a way to unwind.
- Aim for routine. Go to bed at the same time, and only use bed for sleep and sex.
- Avoid caffeine, reduce alcohol and quit smoking.
- Get help. Counselling for depression and anxiety, pain management, and screen for any thyroid, heart or respiratory disorders with your GP.
More ideas are available on the Sleep Foundation website: https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/