Of late, you must have noticed how doctors and healthcare professionals have been giving extra attention to sleep. Increasing number of studies have linked sleep deprivation to health issues, ranging from high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, obesity, mood disorders, attention deficit disorder, fetal and childhood growth retardation, besides making one accident-prone.
Have you noticed how sleep apnea is at par with the diagnosis of diabetes and asthma? Yes, it’s so common these days. For those struggling to lose weight, here is what you will need to know. Two important hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin, play a big role in regulating appetite. Ghrelin stimulates appetite whereas leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. Lack of sleep decreases leptin and increases ghrelin, which means your hunger pangs are higher and craving for sweets, carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, subs, sandwiches, noodles, fried rice, colas, desserts, etc. hit the roof. The hours of sweating in the gym and your strict weight loss regimen, all goes for a complete toss.
For all the lovely women who vie for a good complexion and young body, sleep is of utmost importance. Sleep deprivation keeps cortisol high, which in turn breaks the collagen (essential for elasticity and smooth texture of skin). This means ageing is hastened and skin lacks luster, showing fine lines; and who wants raccoon-like eyes? Adding to the list of worrisome consequences, a dip in alertness, work or sports performance, memory and cognitive function can be included.
Why is sleep so crucial? It is because during deep, restful sleep, the body undergoes physical and psychogenic repair; growth hormones are secreted and normal tissue repair takes place at its own pace. With sunset, the level of cortisol hormone reduces and melatonin secretion kicks in, meaning a lot of recovery and healing happens during sound sleep. Bright lights from television, tablets, laptops and cell phones impact natural secretion of melatonin. The cortisol remains high and puts the body under undue stress, which is definitely not a good sign. So if you want to lose weight faster, sport a chiseled physique, retard aging of skin, prevent high blood pressure or stroke and stay young and fresh and in the pink of your health, then get to bed by 9 pm or latest by 10 pm.
The writer is an accredited sports dietitian and weight management specialist