This is How Eating Habits and Sleeping Patterns are Connected

33. Eat a Small Salad or Some Soup If you’re still not sure what to order since sleep deprivation affects your ability to make decisions, start… Trista - January 15, 2020

It is a new year and a new decade, and this often leads to people rethinking their life choices. One of the most popular ideas for a resolution is to get healthy. Being healthy is hard, but it’s a choice that will have some incredible effects on not just your body but the rest of your life too.

Furthermore, just in case you’re wondering – being healthy isn’t just all about food – it relates to all your life choices like your exercise regime, lifestyle, and even your sleep. Sleep may be one of the things causing you to eat more, but not the good stuff!

You may find your body craving certain foods when you’re tired. Shutterstock.

1. How Sleep Affects Your Eating Habits

Unfortunately, sleep deprivation does not leave your body craving the healthy things we wish it would. We would all try to get a few more hours of rest if it had this effect. However, instead, it does the complete opposite!

We have all heard the saying, “Get your beauty sleep,” but little did we know it can have an adverse effect on our eating habits. The reason we know this information is thanks to some sleep studies that have been conducted.

Your brain is drastically affected when you don’t get enough sleep. Shutterstock.

2. The Connection Between Sleep Loss And Our Brains

So, what have the studies shown us? When you are totally deprived of sleep, your brain’s reward system is turned on when it comes to food. This information was only recently discovered by the hard-working and most likely sleep-deprived researchers!

They were initially unsure as to what the connection was between sleep loss that we encounter on a daily basis and the way our brain responds to food when it is placed in front of us or just sitting in the fridge.

The longer you go without the proper amount of sleep, the more your body starts to suffer. Shutterstock.

3. When You Have Built-Up Sleep Debt

There was a nine-day study period that was involved in this research about sleep deprivation. They were monitoring the effects of “built-up sleep debt.” Nevertheless, it’s not just intense sleep deprivation that has adverse effects.

With ideal sleep conditions, the researchers found out two important things. Even the smallest bit of sleep loss can cause your brain to be triggered by food desires. It then leads to an increase in the risk of obesity and even lifestyle diseases.

You can develop metabolic disorders, which make it hard for you to lose weight. Shutterstock.

4. Lack Of Sleep Leads To Lifestyle Diseases

What lifestyle diseases does lack of sleep put you at risk for? It puts you at risk of metabolic disorder, which is actually the first step towards becoming a diabetic. Get that sleeping mask ready with your earplugs.

If you get the right amount of sleep, the researchers were able to see that the brain’s triggers toward foods were reduced. Rest, therefore, goes hand in hand with your well-being and an important healthy lifestyle.

A lack of sleep causes your body to crave high-fat foods. Shutterstock.

5. How Your Brain Is Triggered

The brain’s trigger to food is increased even more when you add life stress to the mix. This stress is more often than not caused by your work environment. Think about what you tend to do when you come home from a long day at work.

You want to just relax on the couch, not bother with cooking, and most likely end up eating something quick and easy that isn’t the proper nutrition that your body is craving, but what your brain thinks it wants.

Comfort foods are generally unhealthy but make you feel good when you eat them. Shutterstock.

6. Are You Eating Your Feelings?

The saying is known as “eating your feelings,” and this is made even worse when the stressed person is sleep-deprived. And unfortunately, stress is one of the causes of sleep deprivation, so it is a vicious cycle that keeps on going.

Without sleep, your brain isn’t going to be able to make clear decisions about what is going into your body. It will be attracted to unhealthy foods that can give your body a quick boost for your energy and even your mood.

Your body also tends to crave sugar in order to get that quick sugar rush. Shutterstock.

7. How To Know If You’re Getting Enough Sleep

Science has now clearly proven that the amount of sleep you get will impact not only your ability to focus but also your ability to eat correctly! So, the all-important question is – how do you know if you’re getting enough sleep?

One of the first signs that you are getting enough sleep is that you will not be craving the empty calories that are adding to your waistline and not the waistline of your dreams! Sleep actually controls your diet.

It’s hard to resist the temptation of those delicious foods, even at night. Shutterstock.

8. This Type of Food Is What a Sleep-Deprived Person Craves

A registered dietitian, Jaime Mass, said, “When you’re tired, you’re more likely to crave carbohydrates and sugar to pick yourself up.” She also explained that with a lack of sleep, you’d generally feel more hungry than you would have with a good night’s rest.

Sleep specialist and author, Dr. Michael Breus, said, “It should take anywhere from 15 to 25 to fall asleep. So when you fall asleep in under five minutes, that means you’re sleep-deprived.” It means that you’ll know how little sleep you’ve had, depending on how long it takes for you to go to dreamland.

Getting more rest and waking up naturally helps you feel more rested. Shutterstock.

9. When Your Alarm Clock Rings

The worst point in our mornings is the sound of that blaring sound coming from your smartphone. However, thank goodness for the invention of a sleep button to get in that “just five more minutes.” And then another five minutes, followed by another five minutes! Until eventually, you have no choice but to leave your bed.

Sleep scientist, Patrick Fuller, who is also an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said, “If you woke up naturally without an alarm clock, as opposed to forcing yourself out of bed, then you’ve probably just had a good snooze.”

Not getting enough sleep interrupts your body’s natural cycle and metabolism so you put on the pounds more easily. Shutterstock.

10. Weight Gain And Sleep Correlation

If your body has gotten the proper rest that it needed, you will actually end up waking up on your own. And those of you who experience this, will know what a wonderful feeling it is. You do not feel groggy; you feel like you have the energy to tackle a new day!

Now, going back to the correlation between weight gain and sleep means that if you are someone who keeps track of your weight, and even if you haven’t been going to gym or dieting and you notice that somehow you’ve maintained or also lost weight – it’s all because of good sleep!

Get about eight hours of sleep each night to keep those cravings away. Shutterstock.

11. Feel Full of Sleep

The weight gain isn’t just because of our brain craving sugar and carbs; it is because when we have a proper night’s rest, our hormones are able to function to their optimal capacity. It means that our insulin production is average.

This notion helps to curb your appetite, and you feel a sense of fullness and not the cravings that you will when sleep-deprived. There is one more telltale sign if you’re getting the right amount of sleep.

Being sleep-deprived affects mood as well, making you more irritable. Shutterstock.

12. Not Getting Enough Sleep Makes People Grumpy

Did you know that sleep deprivation has a severe impact on your mood? We are basically saying that the more sleep you get – the happier you will be! A bad night’s sleep is a recipe for a bad mood the next day.

The Sleep Health Foundation says that when you are getting the right amount of sleep, you will experience less anxiety. Not only that, but you’ll also be at a lower risk of depression, experience less stress. You will also reduce the chance of extreme reactions to the things happening in your environment.

Sleeping more will develop a more optimistic attitude for each day, making you more productive. Shutterstock.

13. Are You Looking At the Glass As Half Full?

If you’ve noticed you’ve been quite positive lately, it could be due to a good sleep pattern! Getting sleep will boost your motivation, and you’ll find yourself struggling less with your morning routine of getting up and starting your day.

How much sleep do you need to experience all of these surprising side effects of good sleep? The average adult needs between seven to nine hours, but of course, it is entirely dependent on the individual and what their body needs.

Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of sleep we need. Shutterstock.

14. How Much Sleep Do People Really Need?

The amount of sleep a person needs varies, but typically an adult will need around seven to nine hours for ideal daytime functioning and health. But, rest isn’t just as simple as making sure you get to bed on time and working out how many hours you’ll be able to get in.

Some surveys on sleep have shown that about 60% of adults have reported that they find it challenging to sleep three or more nights each week. Can just losing out on one hour’s sleep impact you and your ability to function?

Losing just one hour of sleep can greatly affect your productivity the rest of the day. Shutterstock.

15. Can One Hour of Sleep Make a Significant Difference?

Just one hour’s sleep can make or break you. It has been shown to decrease your reaction time, your concentration, and also impact your ability to make decisions. There is a severe problem with chronic sleep deprivation.

This condition will also impact the ability of your immune system to function. This makes you more susceptible to infections, high blood pressure, and even heart disease. Make sure that it’s something you seek help for before it gets out of control.

Don’t resort to sleeping pills as your first choice; try a few other methods first to help you fall asleep at night. Shutterstock.

16. The Alternatives To Sleeping Pills

Apart from the obvious solution of visiting the doctor and getting a prescription for sleeping tablets, what alternatives are there to this? There are some really great options to try out before taking a sleeping pill.

The first important step in improving your sleep is by sticking to a sleep schedule. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will be of great assistance to your body and will help it become its own alarm clock.

Getting daily exercise helps to make your body more tired so that you can fall asleep faster at night. Shutterstock.

17. Get Exercising To Get Tired

Along with this new bedtime routine, you should also get into the habit of regular exercise. But, you need to be careful when you actually decide to hit the gym or go for a run in the park. You need to work on this timing as well.

Why is that? It’s because if you exercise within the 4 hours before your bedtime, it can actually hinder your ability to fall sound asleep. Plan an early morning workout to boost your energy or early evening to really reap the rewards of your sleep cycle.

Take a power nap if you feel you can’t stay awake, but don’t go over 20 minutes. Shutterstock.

18. What About An Afternoon Nap?

Now, we have some bad news. You know those afternoon naps you love to take? Or even those extra five minutes in the morning that add up to about an hour? You need to avoid napping if you are struggling to sleep! You’re probably wondering how this makes any sense – surely, if you’re struggling to sleep but you can for a nap, then you will!

If you are really desperate, only a short nap is recommended. The recommended time is around 20 minutes. The rest of this length can actually be beneficial for your alertness during the daytime. What happens if you nap for longer than this?

Get more than 20 minutes in a nap, and you’ll wake up feeling a lot more groggy than you expect. Shutterstock.

19. Put a Time Limit On Naps

If you nap for over 30 minutes, it can have the opposite effect of what you want. It can actually cause you to feel quite drowsy when you wake up from it. You know that feeling when you’re wondering what your name is? That’s why!

It is also recommended that if you want to nap, you don’t do it after 3 pm. If you do, this action could affect the sleep cycle that you’ve hopefully worked really hard on to maintain in your lifestyle; now, onto the drinks that you should not be consuming as a regularly sleep-deprived human.

Caffeine perks you up in the morning, but it can actually disrupt your natural rhythms of waking and sleeping. Shutterstock.

20. Hey Coffee Lovers, Cut Down On Caffeine

Yes, coffee lovers, we are talking to you! Caffeine is something you will need to avoid, not entirely, but afternoon. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee if you need a little bit of a boost, but if you drink it anytime past noon, you’ll be up, and buzzing come midnight!

Did you know that nicotine is also a stimulant, and many smokers may also struggle to get to sleep? If you’re serious about getting your sleep cycles in order, it may work in your favor to quit or cut back on smoking. If you notice a difference in the quality of your sleep – you’ll know why.

Red wine is fine, as long as you don’t drink it within 4-6 hours before bed. Shutterstock.

21. Say Goodbye To Your Red Wine

You might also want to rethink that lovely glass of red wine that you have every single night with your dinner. Yes, red wine may have some health benefits, but alcohol is also something that can disrupt your ability to sleep.

The trick is to avoid drinking it 4-6 hours before you try to go to sleep. We know that it has a lovely way of making you feel sleepy, but that is just an initial effect and will definitely wear off at a very inconvenient time in the middle of the night, and you’ll be stuck staring at the ceiling with no sleep in sight.

You’ll have to make the hard decision of choosing between a glass of wine or getting a good night’s sleep. Shutterstock.

22. Wine or Sleep? You Can’t Have Both

Having wine will affect your sleep cycle, and you’ll feel restless during the night because you won’t have the restorative sleep that you actually needed. So, you’ll need to weigh up your options and see which you enjoy more: a glass of wine or a good night’s sleep.

The next tip is a straightforward one and one that people often ignore or pass on. When you’re tired, go to bed! Simple as that! Sleep waves will come and go, so when you feel one coming on – get up and ride the wave all the way to your duvet and pillows.

Distract your brain with a soothing activity in order to make your brain tired. Shutterstock.

23. Yes, Leave Your Room to Get Sleepy

Alternatively, if you’re already in bed and you’ve been trying for the past hour to sleep, but you can’t, get out of your bed and the room. Go and do a quiet activity to help your body relax. This includes things like reading a book or maybe even doing a puzzle. Then, when you’re tired – head back to bed!

On this note, the reason you need to leave the room to do this activity is that you should try and get into the habit of using your bedroom as a space that is exclusive just to sleep. This notion means that it should not be a space where you use iPads, phones, do work, or even watch TV. You can Netflix and chill elsewhere too!

Keep your phone as far away from the bed as possible to get to sleep faster. Shutterstock.

24. Do Not Take Electronics Into the Bedroom

While you should use your electronic devices outside of the bedroom, you should also try to put a limit on your screen time before bed as well. As much as we love technology, it has an effect on our sleeping habits. It is mainly due to the blue light that phones, iPads, and TVs emit.

Why is the blue light an issue? The light actually mimics daylight. This concept then, in turn, confuses your body, and it doesn’t release the chemicals that help your body experience the sensation of feeling tired. It can also alter your natural sleep cycles. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, this might be the simple solution you’ve been searching for.

Putting your phone away 30 minutes before bed will also help you sleep faster. Shutterstock.

25. It Just Takes 30 Minutes

If you make a concerted effort to put down all your devices just 30 minutes before bedtime, you’ll see some significant effects. If you want to really get a good night’s rest, put them away an hour before you go to sleep. Your phone will still be there in the morning, and those texts can wait for a response.

But, if you’re an absolute tech addict, our phone creators have become inventive and are making it easier for us to use our phones in the evening without having them affect our sleep too much. You can dim the backlighting on your phone or set it to night mode. It then reduces the amount of blue light.

Consider getting a fitness tracker to help you determine if you’re getting enough sleep at night. Shutterstock.

26. Can Fitness Trackers Help You Sleep?

Fitness trackers have become the latest accessory on everyone’s wrist. These aren’t just great to track your exercise, but they can track your sleep quality as well. Is it worth it to wear your watch whilst you sleep to monitor your sleep? Let’s find out!

There are more trackers than just watches. There is also non-wearable technology that can help you evaluate how well you are sleeping. Some come in the form of pillows, mattress covers, and even standalone monitors. You also get smartphone apps that don’t need to be synced up to a watch to track your sleep cycle.

Fitness trackers can measure your sleeping patterns as well as determine when you’re actually asleep and how many hours you’re getting. Shutterstock.

27. They May Be Beneficial In Planning Your Sleep Routine

Sleep trackers won’t necessarily solve all your sleep-deprived issues, but they definitely do offer some benefits. Firstly, they can tell you exactly when you went to bed and when you got up. It will give you more information to plan your sleep routine around if you aren’t getting enough sleep.

The wearable sleep trackers will also mostly have a built-in accelerometer. The technology will help to measure the movements you make while you are sleeping. It will show if you’ve had a restless or restful night’s sleep. What else can the sleep trackers do for you?

They measure heart rate to determine when you’re actually asleep. Shutterstock.

28. Detecting Whether You Are Awake or Not

Some trackers are able actually to identify whether you are awake or not. This technology is done through heart rate and breathing. It will show you whether you’re in a sleeping or wakeful state. This technology all needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as we know that there can be some errors in these assessments.

Modern sleep trackers also make a digital recording of the sleeper’s bedtime habits. Instead of having to record all this data yourself, your phone or device will do that for you. It will help you be more consistent in monitoring your sleeping habits since the device is doing all the hard work for you.

Looking at the statistics on your fitness tracker can give you the insight you need to change your bad habits — just don’t do it at night like this gal. Shutterstock.

29. Opening Your Eyes To Sleeping Habits

The main benefit of sleep tracker technology is not actually the information that they provide. It is that people will track their sleep, and then it will become a habit that good rest remains one of their top priorities and at the top of their mind.

Through this, people will pay more attention to their sleeping habits and will more likely be able to pinpoint the issues that are causing their sleep deprivation. From this, they will then be able to make lifestyle changes to start to enjoy good and proper sleep.

Sleep deprivation may be the main cause of weight gain because people aren’t aware of what the cravings really mean. Shutterstock.

30. How To Avoid Sleep Deprivation Cravings

Now turn it all around, right back to the beginning – how sleep deprivation is the cause of weight gain. When we are tired, not only does our brain crave sugar and carbs, but we are also too tired to make anything that is probably what our body needs. So, how do you get around this issue?

A dietitian at The Johns Hopkins Hospital says that “A diet that’s high in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar can lead to obesity, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure – all of which are risk factors for heart disease.” Don’t let your sleep deprivation cause these issues for you when there are actually solutions!

Spend more time making healthy meals rather than running out to get fast food. Shutterstock.

31. Make Time To Be Healthy

He also says that you can still eat healthier when you’re on the go, so despite your time constraints or lack of sleep – you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle that will probably aid in better sleep for you as well. You won’t be stressed about what you’re eating or when you’ll have time to make it.

The first idea is to take time out of your schedule to do some serious meal prep. Pick one day of the week, when you can take a couple of hours to get all your food prepared for the upcoming week. Buy a selection of containers where you can place your meals and snacks. So, when you reach for something when you’re sleep-deprived, you know it’ll be a nutritious meal!

Even if you are dining in, search for the healthy options on the menu. Shutterstock.

32. Restaurants May Be The Answer To Your Sleep Deprivation Food Needs

If you’re not one for cooking and prefer to eat out, there are lots of restaurants that are promoting healthier meals and even provide their meals with calorie counts so you can monitor exactly what you are putting into your body. The world is becoming a lot easier to stay healthy, which means you have no more excuses!

Instead of taking time out of your schedule to go grocery shopping, take a few minutes to go online and look at restaurant menus. You’ll have a better idea then of what you can expect and what you can order if that is your preference. This concept will help you avoid making bad food decisions when you’re out and sleep-deprived and under pressure from the waiter to pick your meal!

Consider soup as a side, but don’t pick anything that’s cream-based; that’s just extra calories. Shutterstock.

33. Eat a Small Salad or Some Soup

If you’re still not sure what to order since sleep deprivation affects your ability to make decisions, start with a small salad or even a broth-based soup. It is very nutritious and will also help fill you up before you decide on your main course. This food will mean you’re less likely to pick a big carb-loaded dish.

Instead of ordering something fried, try something that is baked, broiled, or grilled. Fish or skinless chicken is excellent when you are trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle, and they’re delicious items to order at restaurants too! Also, try your best to avoid greasy or oil meals.

A small salad is a better choice than a bag of chips or a side of fries. Shutterstock.

34. Say Goodbye To Your Side Orders

We know it’s instinctive and delicious to order your meal with a side of chips, coleslaw, or even some buttery mashed potatoes, but challenge yourself to substitute these sides for something like vegetables or a salad. They are often just as delicious and, of course, a lot more nutritious when trying to curb your sleep-deprived brain.

Another issue with restaurants is that their portions can be too big. Train yourself to ask and see if they can do a half portion for you – or ask if they can put the other half in a takeaway bag for another healthy meal for another day? But, when a restaurant is involved, it often means dessert.

Are you craving sweets? Consider fruits instead of cookies and cake. Shutterstock.

35. You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

You don’t have to deprive yourself of dessert and sleep! There are often slightly healthier dessert options, and you don’t always have to pick the chocolate cake with a massive serving of ice cream. Opt for something like fresh fruit or even a sorbet if you have a craving for something like ice cream.

You also don’t have to go out to eat if you aren’t someone who can prepare healthy food. You can also order fast food. Yes, you heard that correctly – not all fast food is bad food! You don’t have to order a cheeseburger with salty fries on the side. There are a lot more healthy options on the menu, and some even provide you with the calorie count so you can make smart food decisions despite your lack of sleep.

Fast food can be healthy when you have more control over what’s going into your meal options. Shutterstock.

36. What About Fast Food?

Try going to a fast food place that gives you control over what goes into your order. For example, if you are at a sandwich fast-food chain, ask them not to put mayo on your bread, order extra veggies, and maybe even as them to put your toppings onto some healthy whole wheat bread. This option is a healthier way to give in to your sleep-deprived carb cravings.

Fast-food restaurants like this will also often have things like salads or even soups. You don’t have to go for the obvious choice, but it will still be easy and convenient. Some fast-food restaurants will offer you build-your-own bowls or grilled meat and vegetarian options too. Your opportunities are endless!

If you’re still craving fast food, order off the kid’s menu. The portions are much smaller so they’re more forgiving. Shutterstock.

37. Order From the Kiddie Menu — Yes, Seriously!

Some tips when you’re passing through a more traditional drive-thru after a sleepless night include avoiding the fried options. Ask if they can instead give you grilled chicken breast on a sandwich. Also, order small portions instead of being enticed by the “supersize.” Perhaps even try out the kid’s menu, which will give you the taste of the fast food you’ve been wanting but not a huge portion.

You can also pass on any calorie-packed sides and toppings. And to top it off, don’t order a sugary drink with it. Get something with no sugar or one of their fat-free options. Cutting this out will be good for your health and teach you good eating habits when you aren’t doing so well with the sleeping side of life.

Already-prepared meal kits can teach you how to cook healthy. Shutterstock.

38. Try a Home-Cooked Meal Kit

The last but not least option to eating healthy when sleep deprived is home-cooked meal kits! You can literally order them for the week and know that you’ll have food to make for every single day. Meal subscription boxes can be lifesavers for the sleepless! You’ll get delicious and healthy homemade meals without the bother of having to grocery shop when you’re already exhausted.

There are hundreds of different companies that offer this kind of service, which means that you have so many options when it comes to different types of cuisines. The cost is definitely more than if you went to the store yourself, but when you factor in the ease and convenience of the delivery service, it evens itself out.

The healthier you eat, the better quality of sleep you get each night. Shutterstock.

39. Prepare For Sleepless Nights With Good Food

With pre-measured ingredients, you won’t have to use your brainpower too much, which will definitely be depleted when you haven’t gotten your 7-9 hours of sleep in. You’ll also avoid wasting any ingredients that you may have bought unnecessarily if you’ve gone shopping while feeling sleepy.

It’s terrific that scientists have discovered the correlation between sleep deprivation and unhealthy eating habits – we can now be aware of them and put measures into place that will prevent sleep deprivation from ruining many aspects of our lives. Pick healthy options, track your sleep cycles, go to bed when you’re tired, and let’s hope you wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to do it all again tomorrow!