Sweet addicts finally have a sweet news-a new study has found that sleeping for 7-9 hours daily can help you tame your sweet tooth. Sleeping well and for a definite number of hours (7-9 hours) is critical to decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, relax your mind/body and keep you replete with energy for the next day’s activities.
Researchers also felt that normal adults who slept for reduced number of hours can attain the required sleeping hours with small changes in their lifestyle such as reducing screen time before bed or avoiding drinking caffeine late in the night. The study involved 42 healthy adults who slept for 5-7 hours daily. These participants were asked to wear sleep trackers and maintain a food and sleep journal for a week. Out of 42 participants, 21 participants were made to take up consultations (45 minutes) with a sleep psychologist whose main aim was to extend the participant’s sleep time by 90 minutes. All these participants were motivated to sleep more and given a set of behaviors to follow over the next couple of weeks of the study. The behaviors included:
- Staying away from drinking caffeine before bedtime
- Refrain from using electronic gadgets before bedtime
- Doing something relaxing just before bedtime-reading a book, taking a hot shower or having a hearty laugh with your loved one.
- Avoid going to bed too full or too hungry
The other 21 participants received none of the above behavioral changes and were requested to continue with their daily routines. Both groups were monitored for four weeks and during the last week of study all the participants were again made to wear sleep trackers and maintain sleep/food journals. The group that received sleep consultation showed great improvement in sleeping patterns-almost 86% of the participants increased their average time spent in bed, 50% increased their average sleep time (by 52-88 minutes) and the other group of people showed no significant changes. When looked into all the participants food diaries researchers found that people who increased their sleep patterns consumed 10 grams less of added sugars every day. This amounts to around 40 calories worth of sugar which does not seem like a big improvement, but daily avoidance of such sugary foods can make a big difference.
While sleep duration increased, sleep quality slightly decreased in these participants, but this might be because the study happened for a short period (4 weeks) and the participants might require a longer time to set their body clocks. Surprising point here is that simple strategies that require no expenses too can alter our food intake patterns and help us sleep for longer hours too. Eat your dinner as early as possible as this also helps to accelerate weight loss. Human beings have body clocks that help them in their sleep-wake cycle. Any distortions in this cycle affects sleep pattern, working style, energy levels and overall performance of the individual. Read more on circadian rhythm and our body’s sleep-wake cycle at www.firsteatright.com.