Inadequate sleep reduces insulin sensitivity and makes you fat. Here’s why and how to get more out your nightly sleep. Six hours of sleep sucks. Most people are sleeping less; several studies show 30% of us are sleeping less than 6 hours a night. In our new world, sleep has unfortunately become a luxury and trying to make it priority is often looked at as lazy or weak. That’s ironic, because people who don’t sleep are actually getting fatter and weaker. Even if we looked past the compromised immunity, increased risk of degenerative disease and early death afforded by poor sleep, inadequate sleep negatively affects our ability to build strength and muscle.
Sleep releases growth hormone and inadequate sleep is associated with higher levels of stress and lower levels of testosterone. Simply missing one hour of sleep per night than what is best for you prompts your brain to secrete cortisol and shift your body away from muscle building and toward fat storage. Even in healthy young men, a poor night’s sleep results in temporary insulin resistance and an increase in food intake. A consistent sleep deprivation results in an 18-20% decrease in leptin which affects the feeling of being full and a 24-28% increase in ghrelin which affects hunger both of which can lead to fat gain. In a study from the Annals of Internal Medicine, participants were put on the same restricted diet but split into separate sleep groups. Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but in the group that only slept 5.5 hours a night, only 48% of the weight loss consisted of fat compared that to the group that slept 8.5 hours a night 80% of their weight loss was fat.
Here are three new things you can try to implement in your nightly routine to promote a restful night sleep. Number one, keep the room dark, quite and cold. When the room is warm the body’s natural response is to cool itself and sleep quality is hindered. Number two; eliminate all electronics 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime. Minimizing those distractions or eliminating them whether it is a show, emails, text messages or social media will help promote falling asleep faster. Lastly, make sleep a priority; the need for sleep varies but there seems to be a sweet spot between 7-8 hours according to a study in the journal Sleep. So if you’re reading this article in bed right now, on your phone or laptop. Shut it off and get some sleep.
To find out more about how you can get a more restful sleep schedule a free consultation with one of our fitness professionals.