Sleep And Fat Loss – Are You Sabotaging Your Efforts?By Jared DiCarmine On August 31, 2010 Under Recovery
We all have been told numerous times over and over again that we need to get at the very least 8 hours of sleep per night. I think the first time I ever heard that was when I was in grade school, maybe even earlier from my dad who was always pestering me about going to bed early.
Because of his constant pestering (parents know best), I developed very reasonable sleep habits all the way through college. During middle school and high school, I would go to bed at 10 p.m. usually and wake up at 6:40 a.m. That’s a solid 8+ hours of sleep per night.
When I got to college, I was sort of an anomaly as compared to my friends and room mates.
They would stay up during the week playing video games, watching television, drinking and not go to bed till mid night or later, then wake up for class the next day.
Me? I was in bed by 10:30 – 11:00 p.m. each night, unless we went out, which for me was only on Friday or Saturday nights. I was too scared to do bad in class the next day.
Since I have graduated and in the real world, my job as a trainer requires me most days to wake up at 4:30 a.m.
On those days, the night before I only get about 5 to 6 hours of sleep. And let me tell you, I feel a hugeeee difference in mental clarity, performance in the gym, and irritability. Because of this, it got me thinking of how people can walk around everyday while only running on 5 or 6 hours of sleep?
They get that amount every night. And I see it in my client’s results when it comes to trying to drop those pounds. The ones who don’t get enough sleep each night have a harder time of losing weight as compared to those clients who get plenty of sleep.
This is just something I have noticed from working with plenty of people. One of the main problems with weight gain and lack of sleep is the extra release of cortisol through out the day.
Cortisol is a natural hormone, produced by the body that gets released in certain rhythms through out the day. Lack of sleep screws this up. Cortisol is a stress hormone. When the body is under stress, cortisol is released. One study from the Laboratory of Physiology in Belgium in 2005 found that those shorting themselves of sleep had higher circulating concentrations of cortisol in the afternoon and early evening.
Another problem with lack of sleep is the effect it has on insulin sensitivity. When trying to lose belly fat, you want to increase insulin sensitivity as much as possible. Diabetics are insulin resistant. You can probably see the correlation already. One study performed in Chicago in 2010 by Leproult and Van Caulter found that with a lack of sleep each night came with impaired glucose and insulin sensitivity. Both are extremely important in keeping diabetes at bay as well as nutrient partitioning, and satiety after a meal. For example, have you ever noticed yourself craving carbs the day that you didn’t get any sleep? Then couple that with extreme amounts of stress. You probably just pigged out? These are the effects sleep deprivation can have on your system.
By not getting enough sleep each night, you can be sabotaging your fat loss results. Even if your diet is perfect, there will be a higher chance of you giving in and completely shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to fat loss.