Sleep: An Ingredient for a Healthy Life

Woman sleeping
puhhha/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Most people know to get enough sleep. But busy lifestyles, erratic work schedules, or even new children (and puppies) can keep someone from getting the sleep they need. Current research now shows a connection between good (nutritious) health and sleep. So the question is … do you get enough?

‘Enough’ can be described in different ways, but usually describes anything more than six hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation may also not be intentional — it could be related to disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. New studies have emerged that bridge the connection between health/wellness and sleep.

Evidence linking sleep deprivation to weight gain was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showing the “relationship between partial sleep deprivation and excess fat make [sleep] a factor of interest in body weight regulation, particularly in weight loss.” Another study showed a possible link between type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and sleep disruptions/short sleep. Appropriate sleep habits may open the door to the prevention and treatment of these conditions.

Sleep disturbances may also affect the hormonal regulation in the body, resulting in increased appetite and a decrease in physical activity.

The main message from these studies is to get adequate sleep (more than six hours per night for adults). Though the science is somewhat unclear at this time, one thing remains true — sleep is definitely linked to reduced nutritional health.

Getting the sleep you need not only can help you focus throughout the day, but also optimize your body for a healthy eating regimen and lifestyle. So rest up and happy eating!

Zachari Breeding on FacebookZachari Breeding on InstagramZachari Breeding on LinkedinZachari Breeding on Twitter
Zachari Breeding
Zach Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, is a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian nutritionist, professional chef and Clinical Nutrition Manager for The Sage: Nutritious Solutions. He is the author of The Slice Plan: An Integrative Approach to a Healthy Lifestyle and a Better You. Connect with Zach on his website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.