Sound Sleep, Healthier Diet

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If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet, here’s one strategy that may help. Get plenty of sleep. What’s sleep got to do with food? Plenty. Research suggests that a lack of sleep produces more of a certain hormone that tells our brains we’re hungry. That can cause us to overeat. Other studies have found that too little sleep may trigger the urge to eat sugary, fatty, and salty foods (think junk food).

Now new research suggests that sleep deprivation may impact your food buying choices. One recent study found that men deprived of sleep for one night bought more food, most of it the high-calorie, unhealthy kind, than men who got a full night’s sleep.

So, if you’ve been struggling to get enough sleep, try these tips:

  • Create a cool, comfortable, dark, and quiet bedroom.
  • Set a sleep schedule and stick to it—even on the weekends.
  • Avoid sugar, nicotine, or caffeine too close to bedtime.
  • Turn off the TV, computer, and bright lights an hour before bed.
  • Take a warm bath, do some deep breathing, or meditate before bedtime.

Need help choosing healthier foods? Try these tips:

  • Limit foods high in saturated fat and trans fats.
  • Limit foods high in sugar or salt.
  • Skip packaged, frozen, and processed foods. Opt for whole foods, instead.

Eat more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources.