Sleep continues to be a hot topic in the health world, and for good reason. Many individuals suffer from sleep deprivation, even when they lie down and fall asleep for the alotted 7-8 hours. Researchers work around the clock to address sleep problems because sleep is linked so strongly to quality of life.
Thanks to data released by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, we now know that overweight individuals spend a higher percentage of sleep time in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep as compared to individuals with a healthy body weight.
The REM stage of sleep is when dreams occur, but it’s also characterized by an increased heart rate and quicker breathing pattern. The latter traits make REM sleep less restorative than the other sleep stages, causing overweight adults to have more symptoms of sleep deprivation than those who are not overweight.
This research comes on the heels of data released by the same research team back in 2013 and 2015 about caloric intake and sleep deprivation. By minimizing their consumption of calories in the later evening hours, individuals reduced the severity of sleep deprivation symptoms the following day.
Lately, it seems society continues to push the idea that sacrificing sleep for productivity is not only acceptable, but is expected. This could not be further from the truth when it comes to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Sleep is incredibly important in order to maximize the function of both the body and mind.
Maintaining a healthy body weight allows your body to get the restorative rest it requires. If you’re noticing extra fatigue, lack of concentration, or a slower metabolism, you are most likely suffering from sleep deprivation. As the cited research proves, nutrition is essential to a balanced sleep cycle.
To get the most out of your night’s sleep, try tapering off your calorie consumption as nighttime approaches. Eat a breakfast rich in fiber and protein to curb cravings in the morning (think lots of fresh fruit, eggs, or oatmeal), and have a fresh, anti-oxidant packed lunch. Feel free to snack on healthy, whole foods throughout the day like nuts, veggies, or even small portions of complex carbohydrates. That way, by the time dinner comes around, you can teach your body not to crave excessive starches or sugars.
I help patients address sleep issues on a daily basis, whether it be from chronic pain, a recent injury, or a trickier issue like nutrition or stress. Together, we can find a solution and get you back on track. Feeling rested and refreshed goes a long way, not just for physical and mental performance, but for emotional health, too.
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman