The human body is like a machine that never stops working. Unlike man-made machines that can be turned off for repairs and maintenance, the human body has to undergo repair and maintenance while it is still functioning. At the most, various systems may slow down their rate of functioning but won’t switch off completely. Luckily for us, this repair procedure doesn’t cost a penny and is done every night. Confused? I’m talking about sleep. Sleep is an important activity for human beings. This is when the body gets its rest, the toxins are eliminated and the cells are repaired. Just recall how you feel when you haven’t slept well? You wake up exhausted, tired and cranky? The littlest things irritate you and the smallest noises seem like a cacophony. All you want is to be left alone with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee!
But that is not the only damage that lack of a good night’s sleep can do. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, not getting enough sleep is linked to obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and strokes. The study found that participants who increased the amount of sleep they received each night consumed less carbohydrates the next day. They also showed a reduced sugar intake of as much as 10 grams following an extended night’s sleep. This is because, when sleep deprived, individuals tend to depend upon high sugar and carbohydrate diets to cope with decreased energy levels. Increased sugar and carbohydrate intake combined with the lethargy that accompanies poor sleeping habits is a recipe for disaster.
Such a lifestyle increases the risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. However, on a brighter note, the study also found, that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer and improving one’s quality of sleep leads to making healthy diet food choices. Sleeping, thus affects more than just our mood, it affects our waistline and health too.