I'll be the first to admit, I hardly ever sleep. I'll usually get home from the studio at around 9pm only to get up at 3:30am-4:00am and do it all over again. I know that this could wear my body down, but I make sure I get at least 5 hours of sleep per night. This, for me is efficient enough for my body to reap the benefits of healthy eating, water intake, and exercise. Not everyone is like that though. Most of us need sleep in order to function. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that 35% of people are sleep deprived. Although most people can function on little to no sleep (you're reading a blog written by one), the majority needs consistent rest. Here are 3 reasons why sleep can sabotage your fitness program:
1. Lack of sleep can effect your fat cells- University of Chicago Researchers coined the term "metabolic grogginess." You know when you sleep poorly and you wake up tired, confused, and dazed? This also happens to your metabolism. Research has shown with 4 days of bad sleep, your insulin (the master storage hormone) is almost at a halt. When your insulin is working fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the blood stream which will prevent storage. When this insulin isn't working properly fatty acids stay in the blood stream and will cause fat storage.
2. Lack of sleep can cause you to become more hungry-Hunger is generally controlled by 2 hormones which are leptin and ghrelin. The less leptin you produce the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn. Research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism states that sleeping less than 6 hours will decrease the amount of leptin produced and will increase the amount of ghrelin produced.
3. Lack of sleep decrease the production of growth hormone- When you have poor sleep you have less slow wave sleep which is when the most growth hormone is released. Growth hormone is your natural source of anti-aging and fat burning that also facilitates recovery.
Here are a few natural ways you can have better sleep:
1. Exercise daily
2. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
3. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow(s)
4. Turn off televisions, radios, put cell phone on sleep mode
5. Do not nap
6. Watch your caffeine intake later in the day
7. Since nicotine is a stimulant. Watch the late night cigarette smoking
8. Do something that will relax you before bed (read, take a bath, etc.)
9. Set your bedtime temperature in your room
10. Rule out sleep disorder by talking to a professional
Sleep is extremely important for better overall health. If lack of sleep is an issue for you, take care of it as soon as you can. I know you're saying, "Speak for yourself, Pete!" Believe me everyone, I'm working on it.