The less we sleep, the more we gain weight. In other words, sleep deprivation increases food intake. This is the relentless observation revealed by no fewer than eighty-five epidemiological observations on the link between sleep and weight.
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Among them, the French study NutriNet-Santé show it the percentage of obese people increases 44% among men who sleep less than six hours a night. “Whether this lack is suffered, in the case of chronic insomnia, or caused by staying up late during exams, after watching a series, etc., the consequences are the same the next day: we are more hungry and eat in an anarchic way. path”, informs Celia Mores, doctor in neurosciences, professor at theSchool of Dietetics and Human Nutrition (EDNH). Approves ? Taken to supermarket shelves for the purpose of a Swedish study, men bought more high-calorie foods after sleep deprivation than after a normal night on an equivalent budget. Therefore, a piece of advice for all those who want to lose weight: the first thing to balance is your sleep-wake rhythm! The length of your nights (specific to each person) should be enough to be completely restorative and not induce eating disorders.
The underside of hunger
Insomnia really changes eating behavior. And for good reason: according to an experiment from the University of Chicago, it only takes two consecutive four-hour nights to increase ghrelin levels by 28%. (hunger hormone) and reduce leptin (the satiety hormone). Result: 500 more calories consumed per day. “In sleep-deprived people, researchers have demonstrated an activation of the prefrontal cortex that impairs the control of food intake and induces its increase to obtain the same pleasure. So, if you are used to eating a square of chocolate after dinner, you will have to go up to three to get satisfaction”, explains Celia Mores. Getting little sleep also means being more exposed to light at times when you shouldn’t be. “But the light acts on the suprachiasmatic nuclei, an area where there are neurons that secrete orexins (substances that increase the sensation of hunger)”, continues the scientist.
Furthermore, short nights are correlated with an increase in cortisol levels, making the resistance bedinsulin It is diabetes. Not to mention tiredness which accompanies a sleep deficit and leads to a reduction in physical activities. We use less energy, and consequently we are more stuffy…
Do you sleep, do you lose?
In the collective unconscious, going to bed with an (almost) empty stomach is not a problem. Not to mention that we burn an average of 50 calories per hour while we sleep. The body needs fuel before resting. In animals, food deprivation reduces the duration of slow-wave and paradoxical sleep. The “soup and bed!” formula ” can lead to wishes from dawn, because we will not have absorbed enough calories. Dinner should be substantial but digestible: neither too abundant nor too high in fat, which can cause gastric disorders AND intestinaland therefore fragments sleep. On the evening menu: of carbohydrates. “According to several studies, sugar consumption causes drowsiness”, reports Celia Mores. We also know that administering rice flour to stressed rats significantly improves sleep disorders. The sedative effect of carbohydrates would be linked to the elevation of glucose in the hypothalamus region – where the neurons responsible for falling asleep are housed – and the facilitation of sleep. serotonin production, with calming effects. In practice, experts recommend starchy foods for dinner. “Tagliatelle with vegetables is perfect, but avoid the four-cheese rinds, which are very fatty”, summarizes our interlocutor.
Protein, but not too much
However, eating slow sugars at dinner is not enough to produce serotonin, must be added proteins (eggs, dairy, legumes, fish, white meat), but not too much. Objective: increase the blood level of tryptophan, an amino acid present in proteins, so that it passes the blood-brain barrier, with the help of insulin secreted after ingestion of carbohydrates, and enters the brain. However, a protein-rich meal reduces brain tryptophan concentrations. The right balance: Complete the starchy dish with yogurt or a slice of lean ham.
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And what time do we sit at the table? Two to three hours before bed. Not earlier, to avoid feeling hungry during the night, but especially not later, because the increase in temperature during digestion prevents you from falling asleep. Finally, if you want a piece of fruit or a teaspoon of honey during the film – sugars that are quickly assimilated – don’t deprive yourself of it. To sleep even better fifteen or twenty minutes later…