The debate on how to achieve a healthy body revolves around exercising and dieting. I mean, if you want to get whipped into shape, the most common suggestion will be "move less and eat more”. However, though many of us try to achieve this, we end up realizing it isn't as easy as it sounds and there is a good explanation for this. Between living our lives, exercising and working, we forget that a good night's sleep is key to unlocking rewards from our fitness and dieting efforts. As a matter of fact, this epidemic has become very rampant, and researchers have directly linked inadequate sleep to obesity. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 35 percent of the population is sleep deprived. And when you consider that the statistic for obesity is almost identical to that of sleep-deprived people, it becomes easier to connect the dots and see that this similarity is not a mere coincidence.
1. Inadequate Sleep incapacitates fat cells
Think of the last time when you never had enough sleep. How did it feel after waking up? Dazed, exhausted and confused? Or perhaps a little grumpy? Well, I'm trying to say that it's just not the body and brain that experiences this feeling. Even your fat cells suffer. I mean, when you become deprived of sleep, your body's capacity to break down fats is compromised.
After a few days of sleep deprivation, your body loses the ability to regulate insulin. Researchers from the University of Chicago found out that insulin sensitivity levels drops by a whopping 30 percent. Here is why this condition is bad for you. When your body is regulating insulin, fat cells get rid of lipids and fatty acids from your bloodstream preventing fat from being deposited in the body. However, when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, more lipids circulate in your blood, and the liver responds by producing more insulin. Over time, fats end up being deposited in the wrong places such as in the liver and the heart. And that's how you become fat and end up developing diseases like diabetes.
2. Lack of Rest Makes You hungrier
Many people believe hunger is related to willpower and the capability to control their stomach. However, that is incorrect. Hunger is controlled by 2 hormones: ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is produced in your fat cells. When your body produces little amounts, you end up feeling hungrier. Similarly, the more ghrelin your body produces, the hungrier you become.
The difference is, under ghrelin, the rate that the body breaks down fats is reduced, consequently increasing the amount of fat stored in your body. To prevent this, you need to be in control of the amount of ghrelin and leptin your body produces. The problem is, inadequate sleep makes this almost impossible. A study published in the journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism established that sleeping for less than 6 hours triggers the section of your brain that increases the need for food, at the same time stimulating the production of ghrelin and depressing leptin production, hence allowing the body to build up fats.
3. Sleep Controls Your Diet
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, not sleeping enough negates the benefits of exercising and dieting. During this study, participants were placed under different sleep schedules. After receiving adequate amounts of rest, half of the weight they lost came from body fat. However, when deprived off sleep, the amount of fat lost reduced by almost half even when on a similar diet. Even worse, those with less sleep felt hungrier and lacked the zeal and energy to exercise further jeopardizing their health.
4. Inadequate Sleep makes it harder for you to exercise
Unfortunately, the catastrophic effects of inadequate sleep go beyond diet and health to your workouts. Undeniably, every athlete's goal is having lots of muscles because they are enemies of body fat. Having more muscles makes it possible for the body to burn fat and still remain vibrant. However, lack of sleep could be a deterrent. Scientists from Brazil have established that sleep deprivation reduces protein synthesis – the body's ability to make muscles. This results in muscle loss and also increases the risk of injury. Inadequate sleep also makes it hard for your muscles to recover from exercises since it slows down the production of the growth hormone, which acts as a natural anti-aging agent and fat burner. This happens in 2 ways.
1. Inadequate sleep implies less slow sleep waves, which is when the largest amount of growth hormone is released.
2. Little or no rest increases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, subsequently slowing down the production of the growth hormone.
When suffering from sleep deprivation, every undertaking will feel more difficult, especially workouts. This will significantly limit the amount of time you can spend exercising.
5. Weaker immunity
Could getting adequate sleep protect you from the common cold? A preliminary study sought to put the idea to the test. Researchers tracked 200 participants and monitored their sleep patterns for a period of two weeks. The participants were then exposed to a cold virus. Those who slept for less than seven hours every night were 3 times more likely to get infected than those who got at least 8 hours of sleep.
6. Ill Health
The relationship between obesity and inadequate sleep is conspicuously hard to ignore. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology established that sleep-deprived women were 30 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds in 16 years when compared to those with at least 7 hours of sleep every night. With all this unnerving connection to high blood pressure, obesity, heart failure, cognitive impairment and diabetes, the need for sleep surely goes beyond looking good seeing results from your exercise and diet efforts.
And even if there is no particular sleep period that is perfect for all people, it is advisable to sleep for 7 to 9 hours every night and ensure that a night of poor sleep is followed by 2 or three nights of adequate sleep. It might look like a very big commitment, but it could end up meaning more than any other health decision you've ever made.
For good health, Prioritize Sleep. Along with exercise and good nutrition, good sleep is undeniably one of the strongest pillars of health.