The quality and quantity of sleep we get every night plays a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing.
Not only does a lack of sleep make carrying out daily activities harder than usual, over time it can make you run down, leaving you vulnerable to health issues.
It can also have an impact on your weight, an expert warned.
According to Georgia Chilton, senior nutrition manager at Fresh Fitness Food, not getting enough shut eye can raise your likelihood of gaining weight.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Sleep is needed to allow your body to unwind physically and recover from the day’s activities, but also to give your heart and cardiovascular system the opportunity to relax.
“Waking up groggy and tired can make you less likely to want to head to the gym and make the day ahead seem like an uphill struggle.
“Poor sleep has been attributed to weight gain.
“It has been suggested that the number of hours of sleep you get each night may influence body weight and metabolism.”
She continued: “A study of American adults between the ages of 30 and 60 found participants with short sleep had reduced leptin (appetite hormone that signals the feeling of fullness) and increased ghrelin levels (appetite hormone that signals the feeling of hunger).
“The observed changes in hormone levels are likely to increase appetite, potentially providing an explanation for the weight gain observed in the participants.”
The study referenced by Ms Chilton was published in Plos Medicine journal in 2004.
Low sleep was considered five hours a night, whereas healthy was classed as eight hours.
“In persons sleeping less than eight hours (74.4 percent of the sample), increased body mass index (BMI) was proportional to decreased sleep,” it said.
“Short sleep was associated with low leptin, with a predicted 15.5 percent lower leptin for habitual sleep of five hours versus eight hours, and high ghrelin, with a predicted 14.9 percent higher ghrelin for nocturnal (polysomnographic) sleep of five hours versus eight hours, independent of BMI.”
Researchers concluded that a combination of not sleeping enough and diet was contributing to high levels of obesity in western countries.
The study said: “These differences in leptin and ghrelin are likely to increase appetite, possibly explaining the increased BMI observed with short sleep duration.
“In Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones with sleep curtailment may contribute to obesity.”
The NHS advises getting between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
To avoid insomnia the health body recommends you:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Relax at least one hour before bed, for example, take a bath or read a book
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet – use curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs if needed
- Exercise regularly during the day
- Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable.
But if this doesn’t work and you are suffering from sleepless nights over a period of several months it says you should speak to your GP.