Sleep helps control two important dietary hormones – leptin and ghrelin –  which are responsible for hunger and satiety. When you’re tired, these hormones are thrown off, and you crave high-energy foods like sweets, sodas or processed foods that are usually high in calories, low in nutrients, and ultimately damaging for your health. Sleeping consistently can help your body manage these hormones and therefore your hunger, minimizing your cravings for foods that aren’t good for you. The bottom line? Sleep consistently to make sure you have a healthy, lean body.

But wait, there’s more!

Lack of sleep also disrupts insulin metabolism, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Matthew Brady and his team showed that after four nights of sleeping four and a half hours each night, the fat cells of the participants acted like the cells of people with full-blown Type 2 diabetes. What that means is that the fat cells became insensitive to insulin. Total body insulin response decreased 16% and fat cell response decreased 30%.

The bottom line: only a short period of sleeplessness changes the metabolism of your cells – as if you have Type 2 diabetes. That’s really not good.

Slow down, do less, sleep more – it’s not only possible, it’s a requirement of a high-performance life. Sleeping well will help you manage your appetite and improve your body composition (more muscle, less fat).

Today's POWER-UP: Eat Your Way to Sleep

Food affects our energy level: some foods rev us up and some foods calm us down. As you begin to make some changes in your life to sleep better, it’s good to know the difference.

Here are some calming, sleep-inducing foods that are great before bed: non-dairy milk, bananas, oats, yogurt and sunflower seeds. So if you need a post-dinner snack, try a bowl of plain yogurt with berries and sunflower seeds or fruit like berries or a banana.

But there are some foods that stress our bodies and can keep us awake at night. Some classic body-stress foods are those high in fat, because they require a lot of digestive energy. It’s a lot harder to get good night’s sleep right after tucking away a cheeseburger-fries combo.

Dive Deeper: The Dr. Greg Wells Podcast

RECENTLY I INTERVIEWED DR. CHARLES SAMUELS FROM THE CENTRE FOR SLEEP AND HUMAN PERFORMANCE FOR MY PODCAST. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SLEEP YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE.