When understanding the truth about metabolism, we hear plenty about proper dieting practices and exercise regimens. However, sleep can be just as important in how metabolism affects a person’s overall health. Your body weight and your metabolism are linked. Simply put, if your metabolism burns more calories than you consume, you can lose weight (though this isn’t the only factor involved in weight loss).
Sleep deprivation alters sleep cycles, causes weight gain, and can lead to metabolic disorders. Poor sleep quality or deprivation is one of the leading causes of slow metabolism and can harm energy production and eating habits.
Ways to improve metabolic disorders include improving sleeping habits by getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough rest can cause an increase in cortisol levels, raising blood sugar levels and reducing leptin secretion, which is the hormone responsible for controlling appetite. Restricting sleep can lead to a higher risk of obesity due to the increased production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases hunger. Eating healthy foods with a balanced diet will also help regulate hormones responsible for weight gain and energy production.
Alterations in sleep deprivation can alter glucose metabolism, and it is shown that people who tend to be sleep deprived have higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone related to appetite behavior. Additionally, shorter sleep durations mean increased appetite and consumption of more energy-dense foods.
Adults who sleep for 6 hours or less may experience an increased likelihood of becoming obese and gaining weight. For people who sleep for less than six hours, bad nutritional habits may form, including eating more significant portions of foods and not having enough energy to exercise correctly. People in these categories are statistically at a higher risk of obesity and weight gain. Furthermore, people who have a short sleep duration are more likely to have a higher risk of obesity and weight gain compared to those who get eight hours or more of sleep, on average. Mounting evidence indicates that getting enough sleep can help reduce the risk of obesity and weight gain. Obesity increases people at an increased risk for many health issues, including obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sleep deprivation can lead to psychological eating and non-homeostatic food intake. It has been suggested that acute sleep deprivation may blunt the insulin response following a high carb meal and thus impair glucose clearance, leading to elevated blood glucose levels and increased energy intake.
You must have quality sleep to reap all the metabolic benefits of a good night’s sleep. Signs of quality sleep include:
- Falling asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed
- Sleeping for more than 85% of your time in bed
- Feeling well-rested in the morning
- Waking up only once—or not at all—during the night
Sleep is an essential factor when it comes to your health and well-being. A regular sleep schedule can help your metabolic rate, hormone production, and mood. Regarding weight loss, sleep is only a piece of the wellness puzzle. For some, sleep is the missing ingredient in their weight loss journey.
Sleep more for the health of your metabolism
The truth about metabolism is out there and following these guidelines and consulting with a professional when needed will give readers all the information they need to get their metabolisms back up and running optimally! Learn more about metabolism by getting a copy of Metabolism & Medicine by Dr. Brian Fertig.
Dr. Brian Fertig is one of the nation’s leading endocrinologists with 35 years of practice in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism. As the founder and president of Diabetes and Osteoporosis Center in Piscataway, New Jersey, Dr. Fertig’s passion for patient care and research led him to write a two-volume comprehensive book on metabolism and the human body, “Metabolism and Medicine.” Dr. Fertig’s poignant, informative monograph on metabolism is the definitive resource on metabolism and biophysical processes at all scales of the physiological journey.