Sleep well, eat health­ier

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

LON­DON: If you have a sweet tooth, it can be hard to re­sist one last sug­ary treat in the even­ing. But the key to stop­ping your­self snack­ing could be as sim­ple as get­ting into bed.

A study found that an ex­tra 20 min­utes of sleep could help peo­ple cut back on the equiv­a­lent of half a slice of cake a day. Sleep-de­prived peo­ple who man­age to spend more time in bed change to a heath­ier diet, ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at King’s Col­lege Lon­don.

They found that when a group of peo­ple who slept less than seven hours a night were helped to get an av­er­age of just 21 min­utes ex­tra shut-eye, they cut their in­take of un­healthy sug­ars by al­most 10g – a third of their daily al­lowance.

This is the equiv­a­lent of half a slice of cake with ic­ing, or three choco­late di­ges­tives. The group also cut down on car­bo­hy­drates. It is be­lieved sleep de­pri­va­tion makes the brain cells re­act more strongly to un­healthy food, driv­ing us to in­dulge in com­fort eat­ing. This may be why peo­ple who do not get enough sleep of­ten put on weight.

The study looked at 42 healthy peo­ple of nor­mal weight who were slightly sleep­de­prived, get­ting be­tween five and less than seven hours of sleep. Half of these were given help to sleep longer, re­ceiv­ing per­son­alised tips such as avoid­ing caf­feine, es­tab­lish­ing a re­lax­ing rou­tine or not go­ing to bed too full or hun­gry.

Re­sults show 86% of the group man­aged to in­crease time in bed by an av­er­age of 55 min­utes, while half in­creased their sleep du­ra­tion by an av­er­age of 21 min­utes. Af­ter a month, peo­ple cut their su­gar in­take by an av­er­age of 9.6g a day, around a third of the rec­om­mended daily al­lowance.

The find­ings sug­gest in­creas­ing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to health­ier food choices. – Daily Mail

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