Inadequate sleep (less than 7-8 hours for adults) has many negative health implications such as a weakened immune system, inflammation causing tissue damage, and mood alterations. Poor sleep has also been shown to affect the regulation of appetite hormones (ghrelin and leptin). When this imbalance occurs, it can result in excess food intake, often in the form of refined carbohydrates. Researchers are also seeing negative effects on blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity when sleep is restricted. Shorter term this will translate to failed weight loss attempts or difficulty with weight management, and an inability to improve metabolic efficiency. Longer term this can put you at an increased risk for diabetes, weight gain, and even heart disease. Athletic performance will suffer alongside all of these consequences. All of this to say: make sure you get your shut-eye!
Dina Griffin, MS, RD, CSSD