According to a new study, people who regularly slept five to seven hours improved their eating habits, particularly their intake of sugar, when they logged more shut-eye. Moreover, on days participants didn't go to bed early enough, they ate nearly 400 additional calories.
“Cravings are driven largely by cortisol and we know that short sleepers will have about 50 percent higher cortisol exposure than someone who sleeps more,” explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and exercise physiologist based in Salt Lake City. Getting quality sleep can lower cortisol, which improves insulin function and blood sugar control. This leads to fewer cravings and better body weight control as well as mental benefits like lower depression and fatigue, he adds.
Check out these five rules for better, deeper sleep and aim for at least seven hours a night. If you still crave sweets, opt for a healthier choice such as a small piece of dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa) or fruit, which is often enough to satisfy the cortisol signal, Talbott says.
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