How does sleep impact our diet?

Can our sleep really impact our diet and what we eat? We’re all eating too much added sugar, in fact, SugarByHalf estimate that we each consume an average of 22kg every year! As well as expanding our waistlines, the excess sugar in our diets can lead to chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

However, a study carried out at Kings College London has concluded that something as simple as getting more shut-eye might help us to keep our fingers out of the biscuit jar. Participants in the study closely monitored the impact that 90 minutes of extra sleep had on their diets. The results showed that this increase resulted in an average reduction of 10g of added sugar a day, and a further trend towards a reduction of total carbohydrate consumption.

So how can we get more sleep?

For those of us already struggling to sleep, getting this extra 90 minutes a night can seem like an insurmountable task. The good news is that 50% of participants in the study were able to dramatically increase their time asleep after making simple lifestyle tweaks.

These changes included:

Avoiding caffeine before bed

Caffeine is a stimulant that can interrupt our sleeping patterns. Try swapping night-time cups of tea for their decaffeinated equivalent, or even a glass of water. Certain soft drinks like cola also contain considerable levels of caffeine so it’s best to avoid these after 5pm.

Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine

This might include having a warm bath, pampering skin before bed or even meditating for just five minutes. You can find our advice on meditation here.

Avoiding bed when too hungry or too full

Whilst we all know that a growling stomach can keep us awake, eating too much food late at night can be equally disruptive to our sleeping patterns. As a general rule, aim to eat 2-3 hours before bed.

Setting regular sleeping hours

Hitting the sack at the same time every day can help to programme our internal body clock, helping us to feel tired at the right hour.