During sleep our bodies repair themselves through the release of hormones and cell regeneration. After our final meal of the day we start to see changes in our hormones, leptin levels increase, insulin levels reduce and adenosine increases leaving us feeling full and sleepy. During our first few hours of sleep leptin is released from the fat cells to the brain restoring these levels to normal ready for morning.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep results in low levels of leptin leading to increased appetite. Therefore without sleep the body cannot normalize leptin levels and causes us to eat more as our brain is being told that we are not full. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to increase the hormone ghrelin this is the hormone that tells us we are hungry. Again causing us to eat more and put on weight.
So a full 8 hours sleep should provide the body and brain enough time to produce and release the hormones necessary to control our hunger.
We’ve all heard the saying 21 days and you’ll make or break a habit?! Well, unfortunately, its not true! eek! Its a myth from the 70s!!!!!!
However, the good news is its easier to make a new habit than it is to break an old one. Habits are governed by impulses firing across synapses and are formed when a behaviour or pattern is repeated regularly enough to have an effect on the synaptic pathways to the brain. The more these synaptic pathways are used the easier it is for impulses to travel along the pathways leading to the behaviour/ pattern becoming ‘natural’. This takes time, research (Lally et al, 2009) has shown this can take between 18 to 254 days, with the average person taking 66 days to form a new habit. Therefore the popular saying of practice makes perfect seems more appropriate, the more you do the newly desired habit the more natural and habitual it will become.
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