If you aren’t getting quality sleep each night, you’re doing more than just missing out on a few hours of rest. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, poor sleep quality in women was linked with greater food intake and lower-quality diet. These findings overlap with previous studies in which researchers have shown a connection between not getting enough sleep and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Eating a healthy diet has always been a key factor in maintaining a healthy heart, and researchers hope this new research can help provide a better explanation for how sleep quality impacts eating habits as opposed to just sleep duration.
What they found was that women with worse sleep quality had a tendency to eat more sugars and fewer whole grains, while those who had trouble falling asleep ate more calories and food by weight.
What does this mean for you?
Researchers say that more studies need to be done to see how improving sleep quality could impact efforts to improve heart health in women, but for now it’s important that you get a quality, full night sleep. Try getting the recommended 8 hours every night, but it’s important that you focus on quality as much as quantity. By waking up with energy, it encourages you to be more active throughout the day and can also have a positive impact on your diet and appetite.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try following some of the tips below before speaking with your doctor:
- Stay on schedule – Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. This will help your body maintain a natural, healthy sleep schedule.
- Exercise daily – Moderate exercise during the day has been shown to help people get deeper sleep. Make sure you avoid exercise near bedtime, however, as that can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid artificial light at night – Did you know the light created by your electronic devices and certain household lights can trick your brain into thinking its sunlight? Limit your screen time at night or look into blue light blocking lenses to help keep your body’s natural clock in rhythm.
- No late-night snacks – Eating late in the evening before your bed time can make it harder to sleep, and has also been linked to increased weight.
- Keep a cool bedroom – When your body gets ready to fall asleep, it prepares itself by lowering its core temperature. Keeping a cooler bedroom (approx. 65°F) will help assist that natural transition to sleep.
If these tips don’t work and you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about further treatment.