Shedding a few extra pounds becomes an increasingly difficult task the older we get. There are many reasons why we put on weight, including stress, age, lack of activity, and – of course – diet, which plays the largest role in weight management. Considered a growing problem in America, obesity contributes to numerous health problems.
When we age, our metabolism slows down, making it far more difficult to shed pounds. So even if you’re eating the same as you always did, you have to work a bit harder to lose weight. But if you’re not getting a good night’s rest, you could be contributing to your weight problems even more. Let us explain…
Poor sleep increases sugar cravings
A poor night’s sleep increases your sugar craving, and by now you very well know all the health-related problems that sugar can cause, weight gain included. Research has found that when we are tired we crave the white stuff even more, so limiting your sugar consumption can be quite a challenge.
Researchers looked at brain scans from 23 young, healthy adults first after a normal sleep and then again after a sleepless night. The researchers found that impaired sleep affected the frontal lobe of the brain responsible for decision-making, but brain activity was increased in other areas, including the reward center. These findings help explain why we crave unhealthy foods when we don’t get proper sleep.
Matthew Walker, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, explained, “What we have discovered is that high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified. High-calorie foods also became significantly more desirable when participants were sleep-deprived. This combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.”
Now that we understand the negative impact of insufficient sleep the solution is quite simple: Improve sleep to reduce sugar cravings and maintain healthy weight.
Tips to help cut out sugar
Aside from getting proper sleep, here are some other ways to cut out sugar for overall health benefits.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Boost your serotonin by sleeping, exercising, and eating well.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep your blood sugar stable by eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. When your blood sugar dips, you are more inclined to choose unhealthier food choices for a quick spike of your sugar levels.
By following these tips – along with getting a good night’s rest – you can help limit your sugar intake, manage your weight, and improve your overall health.