Sleep plays a vital role in optimal health and performance. Getting enough sleep can affect your mental health, safety, and physical health. Sleep is measured by many factors but to keep it simple, we will look at sleep duration and sleep quality. Sleep duration is the amount, in hours, of undisturbed sleep. Sleep quality is measured by slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement. Slow wave sleep happens when you are in deep sleep and the body is building up physical and mental energy. Certain functions decrease, such as brain and muscle activity, and the body can actually rest. Rapid eye movement occurs when the body is in the REM stage of sleep. This is the stage of sleep when you are actively dreaming. Both slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement occur more often when undisturbed sleep duration is longer. In this article, we will focus on how sleep affects physical health and how nutrition plays a role in this relationship. Studies have shown that individuals who tend to have less than optimal sleeping patterns, less than 7 hours of undisturbed sleep, tend to be at higher risk of becoming obese. Other studies have shown that sleeping less than 8 hours a night can increase your chances of injury by 70%.¹  Now that we have some background on sleep we will be reviewing how carbohydrate and healthy fats play a vital role in sleep.

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