Everything about the human body is interconnected and eating habits are no different. Sleep plays an important role in not only what you eat but how much and when you eat it.

Lack of Sleep Changes Your Hormones

We get our energy from sleep or from food. People who get less sleep tend to snack on high-fat, carbohydrate-rich foods, possibly looking for the energy that they didn’t get from sleep the night before.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger and satiety (fullness) hormones, including leptin and ghrelin get released in different amounts, making you more hungry and less full!

Sleep Gives You the Advantage

Getting adequate sleep 7-9 hours per night for adults, lets you work with your body rather than against it. Stress, long work hours, family obligations, an uncomfortable mattress, and insomnia are only a few of life’s challenges that may get in your way of a good night’s rest.

Here are 4 simple steps you can take to promote good sleep hygiene and get a more restful sleep:

· Turn off the screen. Televisions, laptops, e-readers, and smartphones all give off light that can interfere with your natural sleep cycle. Shut off the screens an hour before you want to go to bed to help your body recognise that it’s night-time and it should be preparing for sleep.

· Limit caffeine and alcohol. While some may believe alcohol can help you sleep, it changes your body’s sleep patterns and can lead to wakefulness. Try to avoid caffeine after lunch and alcohol at least four hours before bedtime.

· Create a bedtime routine. Help set your circadian rhythms with a relaxing bedtime routine. Read a book (not on a screen), try some gentle meditation or yoga, or take a warm bath to help relax your mind and body. As you do your routine regularly, your body recognises when it’s time to prepare itself for resting. If you find yourself dreading bedtime because you feel discomfort or pain in bed, it might be time for a new mattress.

· Go to bed at the same time every day. Try to keep the same sleep schedule every day of the week. Your body prepares to sleep and wake up long before you do. A regular bedtime helps it stay on track, which in turn helps you in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.

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