As the leaves change, the lights go up and the music gets festive, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and lose sleep. A review from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep deprivation can cause us to consume nearly 400 more calories the following day! Unfortunately, these extra calories didn’t come in the form of fruits and veggies; individuals lacking sleep ended up eating foods higher in fat and lower in protein.
Of course we’re all going to have long nights now and again, but like most health behaviors when it becomes habitual, it becomes a problem. Consistently consuming more food than you need can lead to weight gain and unhealthy changes in your blood lipids. So how can you avoid this?
Keep a sleep routine.
Keep a sleep schedule as much as possible. This is not necessarily easy, but it is worth it. Experts recommend going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time.
Power on the protein.
Or any protein food. Eating a breakfast with protein will help keep you satisfied. Studies show that people who eat breakfast eat healthier during the day compared to people who skip breakfast. Good options include scrambled eggs with fruit, milk, banana and peanut butter, and Greek yogurt with berries and almonds.
Address thirst first.
It can be easy to confuse dehydration with hunger. Get in the habit of hydrating through the day with water, coffee, tea, milk–it all counts. So get your cup and fill it up! Hydration will help keep your skin healthy through the cold winter and drinking fluid with meals can also help with digestion.
Get a cue.
Be aware that your hunger and fullness hormones can be off with lack of sleep, and make the effort to choose nutritious foods high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, and lower in added sugar and fat. If you aren’t giving your body the sleep it needs, it won’t be able to give you the best cues during the day. This is a great time for mindful eating.
As we begin this wonderful time of year, make sure to catch your zzz’s to help avoid weight gain and unhealthy eating.