Sleep is crucial to overall health and wellness – as is food. A breakthrough study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Michael Grandner examined the correlation between these sleep and diet, and confirmed that habitual eating patterns are associated with habitual sleep patterns. This compelling research may mean that you can promote healthy sleep by changing your diet.
Additionally, sleep can be used to prevent disease. According to this study, your sleep type determines your risk for certain illnesses; so by solving your individual sleep issues, you can minimize your risk for conditions like obesity, heart disease and stroke. They key is selecting the best combinations of vitamins, nutrients and calories for optimal sleep – a prescription unique to your personal sleep type.
Choose the type that sounds most like you out of the four categories below and discover what to eat to help minimize your disease risk. Plus, see solutions to enjoy the health benefits of an optimized sleep schedule.
Sleep Type #1: Very Short Sleepers (0 to 4 Hours a Night)
Very short sleepers often feel lethargic and groggy throughout their day. They have low energy levels and poor focus. Out of all the sleep types, they have the least variety in their food choices. They’re often dehydrated and don’t eat enough carbohydrates or foods rich in disease-fighting antioxidants like lycopene.
Risks: This type of sleeper is at greater risk for obesity and diabetes compared to those who are ideal sleepers. Sleep deprivation leaves your body less effective at using insulin, a hormone that helps to moderate the amount of sugar in your cells. Just four nights of sleeping four hours or less is enough to make the body less responsive to insulin. This puts you at risk for high blood sugar and when insulin resistance becomes habitual, it turns into diabetes.
Additionally, the very short sleeper is at risk for weight gain. Sleep deprivation simultaneously slows down your metabolism and causes levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to rise, which increases your appetite. You’ll eat more food, but burn fewer calories – a recipe for packing on the pounds.
Diet Solutions: Very short sleepers can improve their sleep by infusing their diets with high antioxidant foods. Start your morning off with a glass of tomato juice, which is rich in lycopene. You can also try eating red peppers or pink grapefruit, which are full of healthy benefits.