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You might be feeling overwhelmed by all the nutrition and health information you’ve read over, so here’s the single most important tip: sleep more. High quality sleep improves almost every system and organ in the body, especially the brain.

Sleep can determine our dietary needs, the rate of our metabolism, how quickly we gain or lose weight, the strength of our immune system and even our creativity! It also influences how we cope with stress, process information, learn new things and store and organize our memories.

Adequate sleep – meaning at least seven solid hours – also affects our genes. In early 2013, a group of scientists found that a week of sleep deprivation altered the function of 711 genes, including those involved in stress, inflammation, immunity and metabolism.

For instance, leptin, an important hormone that coordinates our body’s inflammatory responses, is powerfully affected by sleep. Leptin, which helps regulate our energy balance by controlling our hunger, also determines whether or not we crave carbs. In other words, it’s essentially a primitive survival tool.

A study published in 2004 found that people with a 20 percent drop in leptin experienced a 24 percent increase in hunger and appetite. They started to crave calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

And what causes your leptin levels to drop? Sleep deprivation. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll crave more unhealthy foods and find it harder to resist eating them.

Nor are there any available drugs or supplements that can balance your leptin levels. Only better sleep can stabilize your leptin and keep your mind and body healthy, too. Getting enough sleep is an integral part of maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind – it’s important to go to sleep if you want to fully wake up!