What's SLEEP got to do with it?Mar 01, 2021
When we don’t get enough sleep - that's less than 9 to 11 hours for kids, 8 to 10 hours for teens - a lot of things can happen to our mind and body. And these things can affect what eat, what we crave, and even cause us to gain weight! How does this happen?
- Hormones in our body signal us to eat more: A hormone called ghrelin, which boosts appetite, goes up, and at the same time, another one called leptin- one that curbs appetite- goes down. So a bag of chips, cookies, and other junk foods can be harder to resist after a bad night’s sleep!
- Growth hormone and other hormones that help us build muscle and keep us healthy work best when we get enough deep sleep. So not getting enough sleep can lead to more body fat, less muscle, and may affect growth.
- People who don’t get enough sleep eat more: on average, they eat about 200-300 calories more each day! That’s like eating an extra 4-6 Oreo cookies, a 20-ounce soda, or bag of chips. Because people who are sleepy don’t usually much on fruits and vegetables: they go for junk food!
So make sleep a priority for your family: stick to a regular bedtime, power down lights & digital devices, and create a calm environment before bed.
- “American Academy of Pediatrics endorses new recommendations on sleep times”, posted June 2016. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/06/13/Sleep061316
by Rana Parker, MPH, RDN
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