7 Ways Your Sleep and Eating Patterns are Linked

7 Ways Your Sleep and Eating Patterns are Linked

Sleep is essential to maintaining your mental and physical health, and it has some surprising impacts on your eating choices as well. If you are struggling with:

  • Controlling your weight;
  • Managing cravings;
  • Emotional or Stress Eating;
  • Binge Eating;
  • Night-time Eating (eating after dinner), or
  • Afternoon Eating,

then these seven (7) connections between your sleep and eating patterns are important for you to know.

#1 – You’ll Eat More When You Sleep Less 

Studies have found that when you sleep less than the recommended 8-9 hours a night, you will consume more calories over the course of your day. Scientists don’t know exactly why, but the evidence is clear that poor or inadequate slumber and excessive food consumption go hand in hand.

#2 – You’ll Get More Food Cravings If You Sleep Poorly 

Being well-rested is imperative for impulse control. If you are running on less sleep than you need, it makes you more likely to indulge in food cravings, particularly for foods higher in fat and lower in protein. This can have a significant effect on Binge Eating, Stress Eating or Night-time Eating as you are more likely to consume more calories, overeat or binge, after a night of poor sleep.

#3 – Eating a Poor Diet Impacts Your Quality Of Sleep 

Unfortunately, it seems that the link between food and sleep goes both ways. If you sleep poorly with less than 8 hours of sleep, you most likely have a lower variety and poorer nutritional quality of foods plus are more dehydrated, than those who sleep well. Interestingly, the analysis found that those who slept 5 hours or less actually consumed less overall carbohydrates. Therefore, if you want to sleep well and find a healthy weight, you need to find a healthy balance and variety of nutrients in your eating plan, and stay optimally hydrated. Without this, you will most likely perpetuate the vicious cycles you are trying to stop.

#4 – What You Drink Impacts How You Sleep 

There are people out there that swear they can have coffee, energy drinks, or any other caffeine-laden beverage, and it does nothing to their quality of sleep, but this has been proven to be untrue. Admittedly, some people are not aware of the effects of caffeine on sleep. Research has found that there is an interruption to sleep quality and a delay in the body clock. The effects of caffeine have been found to delay the sleep cycle by between 40 minutes to 105 minutes. The delay then affects wake or arousal times.

#5 – Eating Late Impacts Your Sleep 

If you’re eating late at night instead of being in bed, there is a pretty good chance you’re sleeping less. It turns out the link between late-night eating and poor sleep goes far deeper than this. A study by University of Arizona Health Sciences found that junk food cravings were twice as likely associated with night-time eating and snacking. The major predictor of this behaviour was poor sleep quality. The study also found that the pattern was significantly linked with Obesity, Diabetes and other health problems.

#6 – You Are More Susceptible to Mindless Eating While Sleep-Deprived

A study found a link between short sleep duration, Obesity and mindless eating and drinking behaviours. It was found that you may spend approximately 8.7 extra minutes each day eating mindlessly while doing other things. It was also found that you are likely to spend approximately 30 extra minutes per day drinking sweetened drinks (not water). This might not sound like much, but if you are consistently consuming calories mindlessly, that’s going to add up, particularly when you consider that this could be working in tandem with some of the issues we’ve already discussed.

#7 – Your Emotions Respond Negatively to a Lack of Sleep 

After a bad night’s sleep, your body’s stress hormones are elevated, which means that you are likely to be more irritable and less able to concentrate. For those who tend to eat to deal with negative emotions, this can make you more susceptible and less able to say no to the cravings when they kick in.

How you talk to yourself when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep can make a real difference. Learn more about the impacts of your internal language and how to be more positive, when it counts.

5 Tips to Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Here are five (5) simple tips to consider to help you improve your sleep. Remember that sleep and eating patterns are linked. Once your sleep improves, you will create a positive effect on your cravings, all of your eating behaviours and weight. 

Tip #1 – Sleep Environment 

Getting your environment conducive to sleep is so important to have both good quality and quantity. Everyone is different! If you and your partner are keeping each other up at night, you might need to think about creating your own spaces for sleep. Your relationship and health will positively benefit from both of you getting a really good night’s slumber. Some of the things to consider: noise, light, temperature, bedding weight, and smells.

Tip #2 – Regular Bedtime 

Your mind and body need a schedule in order to activate your sleeping hormones at the right time. Being consistent with your bedtime means that you are allowing yourself the time your mind and body need to fall asleep.

Tip #3 – Bedtime Routine 

To activate your sleep hormones, you need to prepare your mind and body to fall asleep. By having a routine, just like you had when you were a child or that you have for your children, it signals that this is the time of day that you are doing the activities that help get you ready to go to bed and have a restful sleep.

Creating new habits and routines can be difficult if you don’t prioritise them and yourself. Read more here.

Tip #4 – Decompress and Relax 

Part of your bedtime routine needs to include some boundaries and deadlines for stimulating activities. Your mind and body cannot prepare for sleep if it is wound up, stressed, anxious, excited, stimulated and the likes. Therefore, you need to have a reasonable cut off time for doing, watching or reading anything that is going to overstimulate your brain and keep you up. A good starting point is at least one (1) hour before bed. Such things include social media, news, work, gaming, movies, TV show, and conversations etc. Find things that help you relax and get ready for a restorative night’s sleep.

Tip #5 – Regular Wake Time 

Just as you have a regular bedtime, you also need to have a regular wake time. This helps you maintain consistency in your sleep cycles which has a positive effect on the rest of your routine and day, even when you don’t sleep that well.

Forming any new habit is difficult. The best way to form new habits is to know what you want for yourself and why. If you need help to form the habits you need to improve your sleep and eating patterns, we are here to help. 

10 tips to improve the afternoon slump

10 tips to improve the afternoon slump

Do your eyes get sleepy around 2-3pm?

Yawning at your desk around this time?

Your body has a natural circadian rhythm that kicks in around mid-afternoon and this has been the reason many countries still have a formal siesta.

Unfortunately, Western society has forgotten about the natural body rhythm and we are forced to work through it!

Most people feel that afternoon slump after lunch feeling so fatigued that they could have a nap.

When the 3’oclockitis hits you may also experience:

  • Frequent yawning;
  • Slight changes in vision;
  • Moodiness;
  • Craving Carbs or sugar, or
  • Headaches.

If you have thought that there is something wrong with you then….RELAX!

It is natural and after a break and with the right nourishment, most people will feel more productive and ready to work.

Part of the answer lies in your eating habits.

What you eat for breakfast and lunch can have a bearing on this.

Another important factor is the amount of calories consumed during these meals as well as your stress levels and hydration.

10 tips to Improve your afternoon slump

Afternoon slump, Stress, Afternoon Slump and Stress, Afternoon Slump and eating habits

Here are a ten (10) tips to help improve your energy in the afternoon:

Tip #1 – Get a good night sleep

By getting a good night’s sleep every night your body will recharge and be more awake during the day.

By allowing our body a decent 8 hours of sleep you will wake up more rested and more alert during the day.

Tip #2 – Eat Breakfast

Skipping the most important meal of the day may lead to the crash in the afternoon.

Eating a healthy breakfast will ensure you have energy throughout the day.

Tip #3 – Eat a Light Lunch

Heavy meals and particularly those high in fat and majority carbohydrates e.g. a burger will make you sluggish in the afternoon.

People skip the carbs at lunch going for a salad and protein but this will also cause a slump, so ensure you have a little, easy to digest carb and you will feel more energised.

Try to have your lunch consist of vegetables, protein and light carbs such as sweet potato, quinoa, beans, lentils, and fruit.

Tip #4 – Drink Water

Dehydration leads to fatigue and sleepiness.

Hydrate with water consistently throughout the day to keep your energy levels boosted.

Have a Green tea with peppermint or citrus for extra alertness in the afternoon.

Tip #5 – Go for a Walk

To help your system to have a recharge, go for a walk just prior to when you know when your slump is.

Exercise is a highly effective way to boost your serotonin production, therefore lifting your fatigue and mood!

Tip #6 – Head Outside

Getting out in the sunshine for 10 minutes will also help boost your serotonin production, reduce melatonin and boost your vitamin D.

Tip #7 – Snacks

Your body may crave carbs or sugary snacks in the afternoon to help lift you up.

Plan ahead and have something healthy such as:

  • 1 serve of fruit (apple, orange, bananas, grapes) with small serve nuts like almonds.
  • Small wedge of reduced fat cheese with ½ an apple
  • Apple or pear slices with almond/peanut butter
  • ½ cup of mixed dried cranberries and goji berries with pepitas and sunflower seeds
  • Sweet ricotta whip with strawberries
  • Hummus with veggie crudités and wholemeal pita chips.

Tip #8 – Stretch Your Body

Sitting still for hours on end is not good for your body.

If you work at a desk, or in a job where you are in the same position for hours, it is important to take stretch breaks.

Standing straight quickly and stretching your body will not only help you stay alert, it will also help your posture.

Tip #9 – Switch Tasks

If you’ve been working on the same task for a long time, you may be on auto-pilot.

Switch up your tasks to get your brain active and in tune with what you are doing.

Tip #10 – Music

If you’re allowed a radio at work, turn the radio up in the afternoon, or create an upbeat playlist for that hour when everyone’s eyes start to drop and fatigue plagues the office.

If you don’t have a radio, take some headphones and your IPod, MP3 player or your smart phone.

By working with your internal clock and not skimping on sleep, exercise, and balanced nutrition, you can beat the afternoon slump.

If you are struggling with sleep issues, poor eating habits or disordered eating, get in touch with Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic.

We help you understand the patterns and complex issues that maintain unhealthy behaviours, and provide you with practical strategies to empower yourself to change negative cycles for long-term success.

Diet Food – Not So Healthy Food

Diet Food – Not So Healthy Food

Australia’s leading nutritionists and diet experts tested the nutritional value of diet foods produced by weight loss companies.

The findings were surprising!

It was found that pre-packaged weight loss foods have poor nutritional quality!

This finding comes soon after another study that was released that found that, some Weight Watchers packaged products actually contained more kilojoules, when compared with other brands.

The Weight Loss Industry is worth $650 billion per year with 2.3 million Australians buying into the messages and marketing hype.

Could these programs and companies really be helping you lose weight or getting you ‘hooked’ on their foods, so you come back again and again?

So What Exactly is in Those Pre-Packaged Foods?

The Australian Women’s Weekly essentially dissected frozen meals, produced by the ‘big’ weight loss companies in Australia like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.

The basic components were broken down, identified, weighed and then sent off for analysis.

These are promoted as diet foods to help you to lose weight and be healthy however, the results debunked the claims promoted by the packaging and marketing claims, as well as the nutritional panel.

For example, the Jenny Craig’s Crumbed Fish & Wedges meal was found to have potato wedges as the biggest component in the meal at 38%, which is not an indication of a balanced main meal.

The same meal also has beef tallow or beef fat (a source of saturated fat) as its second biggest component.

Jenny Craig Responds to Women’s Weekly

Jenny Craig responded to questions about their pre-packaged frozen diet meals. 

This is in response to a test finding that discovered that Jenny Craig’s meals, are not conducive to a well-balanced meal and contain saturated fat.

The responses by Jenny Craig tend to skirt around some of the issues.

See what you think about their responses and determine if you think that they are a positive or negative influence in the weight loss industry.

Fit Minds & Bodies Clinic specialises in helping people with Disordered Eating & Weight Issues including Food Addiction.

Dieting and diet foods actually makes the issue worse.

Stop the negative cycles of dieting and find out how to empower yourself to change for long-term health and happiness.

If you would really like to know what your relationship to food is and recommendations to suit your situation – take the quiz today! 

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