Doctor: Sleep affects weight gain, blue screens affect body clock

How much sleep did you get last night? Did you come close to the recommended 8 hours?

We know one in three adults do not get enough. So how about this question, what are we going to do about our lack of sleep? It's important to think about because when it comes to our health, there's no question, missing sleep is hurting us. 

Craving some junk food?  What does how much you eat have to do with how much you sleep? Turns out, quite a bit. A lack of sleep is linked to overeating, especially junk food because there are two key hormones affected by shut eye. 

There are certain hormones important for weight. A hormone called leptin tells you I'm full, stop eating. Ghrelin tells you I'm hungry. If you don't have quality sleep, those hormones don't develop properly, we develop instant resistance -- we tend to eat more and gain weight," said Dr. Gary Trok.

Trok is a Beaumont neurologist and sleep medicine doctor who's worried about how much we're willing to skip sleep. Mental health, heart health:

"Sleep is very critical for a number of things -- immune function is restored during sleep, certain hormones are released during sleep. There's cardiac rest during sleep, there's mental rest during sleep," he said.

It really comes down to setting your clock, not the alarm clock, your body clock. For it to work properly, you need lots of activity and light during the day, but the problem is, we're getting too much of the same at night. And much of the night time light comes in the form of blue light from our screens. 

"There are special cells in the retina that are just for that clock that respond to light and they're uniquely sensitive to blue light," Dr. Trok said.

Yep, that cool blue light on your phone or tablet is telling your brain, wake up.

"The blue light on the screen on the tv or computer tells a person-- time to wake up and they do have blue light filters which I recommend but the best thing is to avoid media at least an hour before bed," he said.

If you can't avoid screens before bed, or while you're in bed, you can find a setting on your phone to make the display 'warmer' at night... It might be called night mode or night shift. There are also free apps on your phone - which is ironic to use technology to help you sleep and avoid technology. But it might actually help.