Ever had a rotten night’s sleep and the next day cravings for chocolate in the afternoon? Or find that you are just ‘hangry’ for no apparent reason? Well there are some reasons why this may be so.

Hunger hormones

We have two hormones in our body that control our appetite, they are called leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a bit of a gremlin – he’s our appetite increaser. Ghrelin levels go up in times of hunger and stays down for about three hours after a meal. Leptin however, is our hormonal appetite suppressor and researchers state that leptin can help keep the ghrelin under control. The problem is, the power of leptin is hindered when we are sleep deprived. So, if you have a rotten night of sleep, be prepared for your appetite and hunger to be elevated.

Give me sugar now!

A lack of sleep can disrupt our adrenal glands and make us feel very exhausted. When this happens we tend to look for energy to pick us up, and that energy is often the sugary kind! It’s true sugar gives us a fast boost, but it is shortly followed by a fast crash. So be prepared and instead of reaching for the jelly beans, maybe try a slice of toast with nut butter or some banana with yoghurt instead.

Warm up with caffeine and cool down with wine?

If you have a daily affair with both caffeine and wine, be prepared for a rocky night in bed. According to The Sleep Health Foundation the effects of caffeine can last from four to six hours, but your body needs about 24 hours to completely eliminate it. Many people who consume a lot of caffeine think that it no longer stops them from being able to go to sleep, because they have become immune to this effect.

However, research shows that even if they think otherwise their sleep is impaired and they would sleep much better if they abstained from it. As for alcohol, it may help you nod off quickly but that means you can bypass the first stage of REM sleep. As the alcohol wears off, you’ll go back into REM sleep and you’ll be more likely to have a disrupted sleep overall.

So, if you are finding a few extra kilos haunting you, it may be because your sleep isn’t quite right. Try and set up some sleep routines so you can start to regulate your sleep patterns and rein in the munchy, hungry, sleepy nibbles!

Until next time…
Eat well, be well.
Lisa Donaldson APD