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Why We Overeat: Lack of Sleep

We know that healthy portion sizes are the way to go if we're trying to slim down or maintain a healthy weight. So why is it that we're so quick to overdo it when it comes to eating? Health magazine suggests one reason may be that you're not getting enough Zs. When our bodies don't get the proper amount of sleep, two weight-related hormones are affected — leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for controlling your appetite and making you feel full. In a recent study, participants who slept for only fours hours had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain you've had enough food. On the other hand, ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger, showed a 28 percent increase. That means if you're not getting enough sleep at night, chances are your appetite will be increased when you're awake, so you'll end up eating more than you would if you were well-rested. The problem is sleep-deprived people tend to reach for sugary, high-carb foods for quick energy and comfort, which translates to weight gain.

So break the cycle and be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep a night. If you're feeling tired during the day, reach for a food that contains high-fiber carbs, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and whole-wheat pasta. Eat it with protein to feel full longer and have sustained energy.

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