The next time you decide to stay up late or pull an all-nighter, you will need to have a strategy in place to compensate for your imminent lack of energy. Why? In addition to waning health over time, lack of sleep causes low energy, irritability, and increased appetite. Generally speaking, eating provides the fuel needed to get through the day. If you are sleep-deprived on a regular basis, the excess calories you ingest just to function can lead to weight gain. But, choosing high-quality superfoods can help you stay on-track.
The kinds of foods you should be eating must be packed with nutrients that support your basic metabolic functions as well as provide energy. Recommended superfoods include green leafy vegetables like spinach, fruits like bananas, papaya, and blueberries, supplements like wheatgrass and ginseng, healthy fats like coconut oil, and chia seeds which are loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. You could combine these superfoods into a small meal like a smoothie or oatmeal at breakfast. Because of the extra fiber, you can enjoy a steady energy release until your next meal.
While eating well is a great short-term solution, you must make adjustments to ensure that you are getting the required amount of shut-eye. Over time, you will see a decrease in your overall performance. It is estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percents of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from consistent sleep deprivation. Adults need around eight hours per night while adolescents should get at least 10 hours. The effects can include reduced brain function, mood disorders, and even death.
A study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who sleep less than 5.5 hours per night will eat as many as 385 extra calories the next day. You might think that loading up on carbs is what caused the weight gain. Surprisingly, the study concluded that carbohydrate intake stayed relatively the same while fat consumption increased and protein consumption decreased. It is likely that study participants opted for fried foods and snacks because fat provides feelings of fullness and satisfaction that last longer than the spike in blood sugar caused by carbohydrates.
So, if taking a nap isn't in the cards for you and eating a small meal would help you get through the day, choose wisely! Rest is always the best... but when you can't, bolster your health by making smart food choices to keep you on track.