Have you noticed that when you’ve had a shit night’s sleep you’re much less prone to follow through with your exercise and eating regime the next day? Not only do you lack mental and physical energy but you crave comfort food like bread and pasta, and sugar…oh, so much sugar. Well, there’s a scientific explanation for why we tend to trade in good-health for carb-wealth when we’re sleep deprived.
Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation increases levels of appetite and stress hormones in your body, while reducing your ability to metabolize glucose. Being deprived of sleep also sparks:
- an increase in the stomach’s production of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for stimulating your appetite and letting you know that you are hungry; and
- a decrease in your fat cells’ production of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for telling your brain that you’re full and that you need to stop stuffing your face.
So when you are deprived of sleep, your appetite is over-stimulated and yet, when you do eat, you don’t feel as satisfied as you would ordinarily-your body still thinks it is hungry-…which leads you to wanting (and eating) more food. Studies have shown that your appetite also tends to be directed more towards carbohydrate rich foods in these circumstances.
In short: chronic sleep deprivation leads to chronic overeating which leads to fat that ain’t phat.
The link between sleep deprivation and ghrelin and leptin levels was investigated in a joint study conducted by Stanford and the University of Wisconsin in 2004. Approximately 1000 volunteers logged the number of hours they slept each night while doctors recorded the volunteers’ weight and levels of ghrelin and leptin throughout the study. The outcome of the study was that those volunteers who slept less than 8 hours a night had:
- higher levels of ghrelin;
- lower levels of leptin; and
- a higher level of body fat. Interestingly, those volunteers who got the least amount of sleep also weighed the most out of the test group.
So do your phat, beautiful body a favour and make sure you get the shut-eye you that you need by following our 9 common-sense tips for improving both the quality and quantity of your sleep…they’ll help you to maintain your bitchin’ body.
- “Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation” by Kristen L Knutson, PhD. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2084401