A Guest Post By Healthy with Stefan
Many people fail to realize that sleep and obesity, as a result of food choices, are connected. A good night’s sleep could mean the difference between craving unhealthy treats and enjoying fruit and vegetables. It really could be that simple. A good night’s sleep helps you to make better eating choices, thus improving your eating habits, which eventually affects other areas of your life. This applies to the example that we set for our children, as well. Just like we need to teach our children to sleep, we also need to model a healthy relationship with food.
Poor Sleep Means Potentially Poor Food Choices
It has been long known that weight gain and sleep are connected. However, the question that remained was in what way? Over the last 12 months, researchers finally discovered the answer and it turns out that the parts of the brain that help people make better food choices are affected by the amount of sleep people get. Making healthier decisions is harder when the body is running on little sleep.
Another study that tracked responses to images of unhealthy and healthy foods showed that the participants who got just four hours of sleep per night experienced greater activity in the motivation and rewards centers of the brain.
This can be interpreted as follows: people who are deprived of sleep make worse food choices because they feel the need to treat themselves in order to compensate for the lack of proper sleep. If they get more sleep, the activity in these areas of the brain is diminished, which means that unhealthy food cravings are also reduced or even completely eliminated.
A Way to “Turn Off” Obesity Genes?
If you think that your genetic predisposition to obesity determines your future body shape and looks, you may be surprised to find out that there may be a way to turn those ‘bad’ genes off. The good news is that a good night’s sleep can help with diminishing the affect of “obesity genes.”
Researchers in 2012 found that those who get more sleep are affected less by genetics when it comes to obesity. They explained that environmental factors, such as diet, nutrition, and physical activity may have predominant influence on the body weight for those individuals.
Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the University of Washington Sleep Disorders Center, advised that “The longer you sleep, the less important genetics become in determining what you weigh.”
This is certainly good news for everyone, especially parents. We can help our children learn to sleep through the night, and heed the recommended hours of sleep for both ourselves and our children. A well rested family is a healthier family, and one way to encourage your whole family to eat better is to help them get a better night’s sleep.
Stefan is an LA-based actor, aspiring director and a healthy lifestyle enthusiast. Stefan was born in the panoramic town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria where he grew up in a family of doctors. He was raised in a healthy non-toxic environment where his parents’ main goal was to provide him with the knowledge and conditions to NATURALLY build healthy eating habits and achieve a BALANCED BODY. In 2013, Stefan decided to share his knowledge, experience, observations and researches he has done (in the food/healthy living/fitness fields) with the world and wrote “Awaken Your Healthy Genes” book.
Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends by clicking below, or ask a question on The Sleep Lady Facebook page.