Lack of sleep may be putting people at a greater risk of becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes, a new study has suggested. A sleep study found that those losing sleep on weekdays were more likely to develop the conditions. The findings suggested increasing sleep could help patients.
Studies have already shown that shift work can rapidly put healthy people into a pre-diabetic state. The action of throwing the body clock out of sync is thought to disrupt the natural rhythm of hormones in the body, leading to a host of health problems.
But the pressures of work and social lives mean many people cut their sleep during the week and catch up at the weekend. Researchers are investigating whether there is a health impact.
Quality sleep is one of the main needs of the human body. Lack of sleep leads to a lot of problems. If insomnia is only a short-term issue the results are impaired concentration, worse performance and headaches. In case of long-term, ie. Chronic insomnia, there is a risk of addiction to drugs used to treat insomnia and also an increased risk of development of mental illnesses (particularly depression), type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Lack of sleep causes changes in the secretion of several hormones (eg. Leptin, ghrelin) which cause an increased appetite, which is often encountered in people who suffer from obesity. Sleep apnea, which is a condition where brief pauses in breathing during sleep are experienced, significantly impairs the quality of sleep. It can feel very annoying that you feel tired during the day and you don‘t have power to influence the sleep.
What can you do to get good sleep?
The first and most important thing is having a routine (going to bed around the same time every day, not sleeping during the day, sleep in a well ventilated room and not to practice before bedtime, etc.). Also, a good diet can help a lot. The secret is in foods which increase the production of serotonin, the "peace and quiet" hormone. Serotonin calms the nervous system and brain. After the dusk it produces the hormone melatonin, which is crucial in the regulation of sleep. Furthermore, serotonin comes from the amino acid tryptophan, which is contained in many foods.
And finally we come to the foods which are important for a restful sleep. Would you believe that one of the most recommended things is warm milk with honey? Our grandmothers obviously didn‘t know about some of tryptophan and serotonin, but the soothing power of milk with honey was well known to them. Other suitable foods are bananas and whole grain foods (cereal, pastries, bread). Why are carbohydrate meals so recommended? Carbohydrate intake is associated with insulin release and thanks to this we get more tryptophan to the brain.
On the other hand, some food should be removed from your diet and others should not be eaten just before bed. These are mainly fat and heavy meals, which causes a feeling of heaviness in the stomach and heartburn, caffeine (coffee, indulge in the morning or afternoon, but certainly not in the evening) and alcohol. Although you may fall asleep easily after alcohol, the quality of sleep is disrupted by frequent excitation. Furthermore, there is also advice for those who are slightly underweight, which is that hunger dramatically reduces your quality of sleep, so your last meal should be about 2-3 hours before going to sleep.