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Sleep Deprivation Feeds Hunger: Around 4 Extra Slices of Toast a Day, Research Suggests

People who are sleep-deprived, defined as those who get less than seven hours a night, consume the equivalent of an extra four slices of toast a day, according to research reported in The Telegraph. Apparently lack of sleep feeds your hunger by altering regulation of the hormone ghrelin, which controls hunger, and leptin, which controls your feelings of fullness.

It’s true that too little sleep has far-reaching effects beyond simply making you tired. Studies show that four nights of sleep deprivation (sleep time was only 4.5 hours per night), can cause insulin sensitivity to become 16 percent lower, and fat cells’ insulin sensitivity to go so low it rivals levels seen with diabetes or obesity.

Impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, occurs when your body cannot use insulin properly, causing your blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes as well as a risk factor in many other chronic diseases. Sleep deprivation puts your body in a pre-diabetic state, which can lead to increased weight and decreased health, including heart problems.

If you’re having trouble getting adequate sleep, begin the evening by making sure your room is totally dark, and that the temperature is at or below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Establish a regular bed time, and don’t change it. Put your work away an hour before you go to bed, and make sure that your bedroom is clear of electro-magnetic fields (EMFs), which can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well.
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