WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Simple and effective ways to help maintain good sleeping habits
By Roberta Smith
Counsellor, Mind For Life
Having a regular sleeping pattern is essential to making sure that you have enough energy throughout your day. It also assists in keeping you motivated to choose healthy meal options and provides you with sufficient energy for regular physical activity to keep you fit.
Appetite-regulating hormones such as ‘leptins’ are produced during sleep, but lack of adequate sleep reduces their production, which in turn makes the body crave unhealthy foods that are very low in nutrition.
Psychological studies have clearly demonstrated that a lack of quality sleep (sleep deprivation) increases the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviours, such as eating foods with a high sugar or high fat content. This is often used as a coping mechanism when your body and mind become quite fatigued.
It is not unusual for teenagers to struggle with falling asleep and to maintain a regular sleep pattern during childhood and adolescence, as they are going through further cognitive development. Ironically, this is the developmental phase where they require the most energy so the body can produce normal hormones, such as testosterone.
The brain requires a high source of energy to process and retain information effectively. Getting ample rest will ensure that you have more energy to spare on many other activities such as cooking, going for a walk, going to the gym and socialising with family and friends.
It is also very beneficial for your body clock to maintain a regular sleep rhythm of going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, particularly while studying for exams and completing assignments for school. Try to get between 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
You can also try using a useful app called ‘Bedtime’ on your smartphone. It lets you set both your bedtime and wake up time for each day during the week. ‘Bedtime’ will automatically place your phone into a ‘do not disturb’ mode that will prevent you from being interrupted so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep!
If you have a history of sleeping problems, you are certainly not alone.
A high proportion of teenagers and adults suffer from sleep disorders including narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome (RLS) or sleep apnoea. You can obtain further information about the importance of sleep for body fat regulation and also on various sleeping disorders from the links below:
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