Sleep is an integral to our health and well being. I’m sure we can all admit we’re a bit grumpier when we have a bad night's sleep. Poor sleep can affect concentration, mood and hunger cues.
Sleep expert and Neuroscientist Matthew Walker, author of ‘Why We Sleep’, explores how alcohol, caffeine, pharmaceutical stimulants and sedatives disrupt sleep cycles and degrade the quality of brain waves that promote the rich slumber we all need. Walker calls alcohol and caffeine ‘the enemies of sleep’. He describes the effect a lack of sleep has on our blood sugar: In studies our cells become less responsive to insulin, the hormone released in response to glucose, resulting in high levels of sugar in the blood.
When we lose sleep, we also become more susceptible to weight gain. This is mostly due to decreased levels of our satiety-signalling hormone leptin, and increased levels of hunger-signalling hormone, ghrelin. This makes us feel hungrier (possibly even hangry) and not satisfied when we do eat, which, for those on a weight loss journey is far from ideal.