Have you ever noticed there are certain days when you feel like a bottomless pit? Despite your healthy eating plan, you just can't satisfy your hunger cravings no matter how much you eat? Chances are your insatiable appetite is the consequence of sleep deprivation—which directly affects the hormones that regulate your hunger.
To get to the bottom of this phenomenon, My Body+Soul reached out to accredited practicing dietitian Chloe McLeod. She explained you're most likely to overeat when you're tired. Whether we're suffering from lack of sleep or low-quality sleep, our bodies produce higher levels of ghrelin, aptly nicknamed the hunger hormone. In turn, leptin, the hormone that signals to us that we're satisfied, is lowered. "This can leave us feeling hungry, even when we don't actually need food," warns McLeod. Not only does it become difficult to recognize when we should stop eating, what we crave are carbohydrates and sugar. As McLeod explains, "Our body is searching for quick and easy energy to help us feel like we have more energy; this is most easily accessed via carbohydrates."
So if you're finding yourself overeating and loading up on the wrong things, take a look at your sleep schedule first. Skimping on shut-eye or continually suffering through restless nights can be directly impacting how healthy you are during the day. If there's no available way to combat compromised sleep at this stage of your life—if you're a new mom or working through a demanding project at work—McLeod suggests turning to low-glycemic-index carbohydrates to feed your appetite. She says, "Foods like barley and chickpeas are rich in fiber and help keep you full, as do good quality proteins like fish, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts."
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