When I began researching the question; how does sleep deprivation affect weight, I was utterly amazed at what I found. We often hear health advisers say that sleep is important to weight loss. However, this is a topic that has so much depth to it that I think it important to look at a bit closer.
Sleep Deprivation Affects Our Hormones
The lack of sleep affects our bodies in a shocking number of ways. We have probably only begun to know how important sleep is. It’s something everyone who wants to live the healthiest life possible needs to explore.
Something that is not common knowledge is the fact that there is a direct connection between our sleep and how our hormones function. Perhaps you think of menopause more than sleep when you think about hormones. The truth is that hormones affect our bodies in unexpected ways. Several hormones in our body affect our weight. Three of these are, lepton, cortisol and ghrelin.
Leptin is a hormone that controls our appetite. So the less that we produce the hungrier we will feel. Leptin production is affected by how much sleep we get. According to Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, when we sleep less than 6 hours our body produces less of this important hormone.
Ghrelin is another hormone that is affected by our sleep habits. It stimulates our hunger and causes our bodies you store fat. To make things worse it also increases the breakdown of muscle. Which can put you at a higher risk for injury.
Researchers at University of Chicago discovered that lack of sleep caused a 30% decrease in insulin sensitivity. If you are diabetic, you will probably understand how detrimental this is to your health. Insulin insensitivity is not just a problem for diabetics.
If your body does not respond to insulin properly, your fat cells cannot release fatty acids and lipids as it should. This creates a vicious cycle because the extra fatty acids and lipids will cause your body to send out more insulin which your body won’t respond to. This cycle causes your body to store more fat.
Not getting enough sleep will clearly inhibit any weight loss effort.
Losing Sleep Means Losing Muscle
Sleep deprivation has been found to cause a decrease of protein synthesis which is the ability to build muscle. Together with, the increase in the hormone cortisol as mentioned above, a lack of sleep equals disaster for your muscles. Without muscle, you cannot burn all the excess fat your body is storing.
Losing muscle makes it far more likely that you will suffer an injury from a fall or strain. It makes it harder to keep your balance, which also puts you at risk for injury. And it is quite likely that if you do suffer an injury, you will become more sedentary. While it may be a good excuse to skip your walk, this does not do your waist any favors.
Skimping on Sleep Keeps You Out of the Gym
It’s awfully hard to feel motivated to work out when you are dragging because you haven’t gotten your ZZZ’s. If you manage to push yourself through the doors of a gym anyway, you are probably not going to push yourself like you would if you weren’t slept deprived.
When you haven’t slept enough, working out could be dangerous because your combination is affected and
mental alertness is diminished. The depressing fact is that without adequate sleep, your body cannot efficiently recover from a work out.This means that you will not grow muscle after a workout and you may feel more sore, hindering you from ever wanting to do it again.
Oversleeping Has Consequences Also
When you are sleeping too many hours you are obviously burning fewer calories. However, the impact of sleeping too much are far more consequential. People who sleep too much are at a higher risk for cancer, depression and obesity. I know firsthand how much more difficult my fight with depression is when I get lazy and sleep more than I need too. It is ironic that depression tends to make me want to sleep even more.
How Does Sleep Effect Weight? The answers are surprising.
Sleep has an enormous impact on our weight. Sleep deprivation clearly makes our hormones go bizerk! Our bodies can’t use insulin properly, we produce too much of some hormones and not enough of others. The result is usually weight gain.