How Can Sleep be Linked to Weight Loss?
This article is going to explain the link between sleep deprivation, weight management and a less than optimum physical and mental state of wellbeing.
How Can Sleep Help Health and Weight Management?
Currently, sleep deprivation plagues a quarter of the world’s population.
How can sleeping more help you lose weight – and reducing your weight help you sleep? How can sleeping reduce risks of developing diabetes and other inflammatory conditions? And what if you exercise a lot and eat well – why aren’t you losing weight?
This article will help explain a bit more in detail about how sleep is crucial for physical and mental health, as well as weight management.
What Happens to the Body During Sleep?
During sleep, the tissues in your body get repaired. You also produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – from the pituitary gland, which helps to keep lower levels of body fat, repairs your body, including the turnover of bone, muscle and collagen, and increases longevity and a healthier body composition.
Both sleep and exercise induce HGH. Exercise increases HGH and dependant on the type of exercise and for how long, could be detrimental to the body, which I will explain another time, but the right type of exercise regime for optimum health is important for sleep, too.
Experts estimate that as much as 75 percent of the human growth hormone is released during sleep.
In normally healthy people, the major period of HGH release occurs during the first period of Stage 3 sleep stage during the night, about an hour after you first fall asleep. Stage 3, also known as deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, accounts for about one-quarter of your sleep each night.
Deep sleep is the most restorative in all stages of sleep. During this stage of sleep, HGH is released and works to restore and rebuild your body and muscles from the stresses of the day.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
I believe you should aim for going to bed between 10 and 11 pm and depending on your personal needs, try to sleep between 8 and 9 hours minimum. If you feel like you could go back to bed before noon and sleep, or self-medicate on caffeine throughout the day, then it is likely that you are not getting good quality sleep and not being kind to your body.
If this is consistent, it will manifest into all sorts of inflammatory physical and mental ailments. This program supports anyone that is looking for a full lifestyle change guidance and it works because it is not about perfection.
For instance, if you have coffee all day long now and can’t see how you could change that, on the program, you will soon find that you reduce it (of your own accord it seems – because of the education and the full audio and visual lifestyle support) until you are having one or two really good cups in the morning. It’s true!
The production of HGH levels peaks at your youth, and steadily declines with age.
Seniors, in particular, spend less time in deep sleep, which explains the link between lack of HGH and other disorders associated with aging. For example, lower HGH levels correspond with a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
So with less sleep, there are more chances of dementia and higher chances of many inflammatory diseases. All of our cells renew during sleep and hormones regulate themselves.
Is Sleep Affected by Alcohol?
Yes, another culprit for our bad sleep patterns is alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol makes you fall asleep faster but the sleep cycles are disturbed.
The likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night after drinking is high and the sleep is not as valuable.
What happens is the body is focused on metabolising the fermented sugars in the alcohol and so the (REM) deep sleep cycle is reduced. Alcohol keeps you in the lighter stages of sleep, so you don’t experience the lovely deep sleep that we need.
Alcohol, like a ‘sleeping tablet’ is a sedative. It takes you from being awake but not to sleep. So many people think that alcohol helps them to sleep but it doesn’t. It puts you into a state of sedation and good, natural sleep and REM isn’t experienced.
The liver is left with the task of detoxifying the sugars in the alcohol, which interferes with the fat-burning process and the overall quality of sleep is impaired.
I don’t know whether you notice but the days when you sleep less or have had excess alcohol the night before, you have a bigger appetite and can crave calorie-rich, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods the next day.
Some sweet alcoholic drinks play havoc with your blood sugar levels and start inducing cravings while you are drinking them!
Which is why people nibble after drinking alcohol and why it is so hard to quell strong cravings when you have had sugary alcohol. The more calories in an alcoholic drink, the more of a craving the next day!
The more often that glucose and insulin is disturbed, the more we are at risk to illnesses and disease.
Why Do You Never Feel Full?
If you find yourself constantly eating and never feeling satisfied, it could be sleep deprivation. Or, not having enough nutrition, which could cause insomnia, which puts you in a spiral of sleep deprivation and undernourishment. This cycle makes your body more susceptible to disease!
During sleep, our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin are regulated.
Grehlin is responsible for hunger and leptin is responsible for feeling full. In the daytime, these neurotransmitters are increased and decreased, signalling the need to consume calories.
Studies show that with very little good sleep, these neurotransmitters become dysregulated and there can be an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin, which ultimately leads to an insatiable appetite, eg. No matter what you eat, you are not just not feeling full up!
Also, as mentioned before, if you don’t feel like you can ever appease your appetite, you could be filling up your body with empty calories with no nutrition values.
You could be having lots of food but not enough nourishment for your body.
These days, people are having diets with a lot of micronutrients, carbohydrates, fats and protein but they are not getting the vitamins and minerals that are essential for the functioning of our bodies and brain.
We can have bigger bodies but be starving on the inside – which will not help sleep.
If you have the right vitamins and minerals, you are full. When your body is satisfied nutritionally, you are more likely to have a better sleep.
When we are nourished, we are less hungry and we will sleep better.
How Sleep Affects Metabolism
Studies show that sleep deprivation increases metabolic dysregulation. When we sleep less, we also have less stable sugar levels (glucose intolerance and insulin resistance) as well as more chance of cravings, so more chances of diabetes and obesity.
Chronic sleep deprivation is recognised as being one of the major contributors to the escalation of type 2 diabetes – and it can be avoided.
Also, having less sleep generally means slower movements and less energy for exercise which increases chances of obesity and disease.
Less sleep disrupts the circadian rhythm (24 hour internal clock). The circadian rhythm activates many body and brain mechanisms during daylight hours, designed to keep you awake and then when it is time to sleep, the processes slow down and deactivate ‘alert’ signals. The circadian rhythm plays an important role in the sleep/wake cycle, including sleep duration and continuity, which I will talk more about another time.
How Sleep is Affected by Oxidative Stress
A good amount of sleep increases resistance to oxidative stress, too. Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are created when we eat and exercise and when exposed to smoke and pollution. Studies have shown that the deprivation of REM sleep, alters cellular physiology and can potentially generate free radicals.
Oxidative stress increases chronic inflammation, damaging DNA, proteins and cells and leaving the body more susceptible to disease, like macular degeneration, Alzheimers, prostrate cancer and Parkinson’s Disease.
Antioxidants are produced by foods abundant in vitamins C and E, betacarotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin, carotenoids and selenium, that help fight the free radicals. This anti-inflammatory lifestyle is packed with antioxidant-rich recipes.
Is There a Link Between Depression and Lack of Sleep?
There’s a Strong Link Between Depression, Inflammation and Sleep Disturbance
Sleep disturbance may activate the expression of inflammatory genes. These inflammatory cytokines are highly correlated with the occurring of depression disorders, meanwhile, inflammatory activity in turn can influence sleep.
Depression and anxiety lead to insomnia and insomnia can lead to depression and anxiety.
In a nutshell, depression and anxiety are linked to chronic inflammation.
They are two of the conditions that subscribers have stated that has lifted since they have been on this anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
As the lifestyle reduces chronic inflammation and promotes good health and good sleep, it is not a surprise – and I am absolutely delighted, as you can imagine.
It is so important for your whole physical and mental wellbeing to get regular, good sleep.
Sleep is an important component to life; an important component of the Eat Burn Sleep lifestyle.
Is Stress Linked to Lack of Sleep and Weight Gain?
Mental stress, whether it is part of or as a result of poor sleep, can enhance appetites, increase weight gain and decrease motivation for physical activity.
Sleep deficiencies associated with shift work and circadian misalignment may all contribute to metabolic dysregulation which can lead to stress, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, inflammation, impaired glucose intolerance, insulin sensitivity and energy balance.
It is important to recognise that there is a strong link with sleep and circadian disruption in the development of diseases.
Reducing stress and eating the right foods, at the right times, with the right movement, on an optimum health program like Eat Burn Sleep, will contribute greatly to rectifying this.
How Can You Improve Your Sleep?
As we get older, our sleep quality decreases. I try to cut all caffeine products from noon. Even decaffeinated products contain low levels of caffeine so I would suggest sticking to herbal teas. Remember that dark chocolate has quite a bit of caffeine too.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet that is full of everything the body needs which will satisfy your body and help you sleep better. Check the contents of your diet. Follow a good eating meal plan.
Do the right exercise at the right time of the day.
Avoid nightcaps and alcohol right before bed time. I usually drink water in the two hours before bed, after a glass of wine.
As many of you know, it is better to avoid screens about 2 hours before getting to bed. Phones, laptops, TVs produce a blue light similar to the sun rays.
These send a message to the brain saying that it is daytime and can also trigger hunger signals. It is harder for the brain to release the sleep hormone serotonin when we are exposed to blue lights.
Sleep in a darkened room that isn’t too warm. Use blackout blinds or sleep masks. When you are in darkness, your body produces melatonin, which calms you down and prepares you for sleep.
Boosting your insulin levels with the right type of carbohydrates will help produce melatonin, too. So include carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, quinoa and parsnip in your evening meal.
My comments were featured in The Sun recently about how to get a good night’s sleep.
Melatonin helps regulate the circadian rhythm, along with other physiological and autonomic regulations.
What I Recommend for a Good Night’s Sleep:
1- ENJOY your sleep routine. Taking your make-up off, applying your night cream, having a bath, etc. Make it sweet, lovely and take your time. Don’t rush your bedtime routine.
2- PRAY or MEDITATE. Thank God/Nature/the Universe for your blessings and put your wishes out there, asking for them to be granted if they are indeed right for you. The evening meditation bath will help prepare you for a blissful night of sleep. There are many meditations and inspirational resources on the Eat Burn Sleep program that members love!
3- READ a book. Reading takes the mind off things and is such a good natural sleeping aid. I have found myself many times almost falling asleep myself when reading stories to my children after a long day.
It is really important to eat the right foods and drinks at the right time of the day, throughout the day. Not eating enough of the right foods for the right nutrients can lead your body to starvation, sleep deprivation and susceptible to disease.
You have heard me talk many times about switching your genetics off with the right lifestyle. Taking the right exercise and using techniques to decrease stress to reduce inflammation and for overall good health is important.
Following the Eat Burn Sleep program is scientifically proven to optimise mental and physical health and will promote good sleep.
Can Supplements Help Sleep?
I do like natural supplements like valerian. Pharmacies sell a natural anti-anxiety/sleep aid called Kalms. I do sometimes take 3 tablets before going to bed and I find it helpful.
Please listen to the supplements talk under Nutrition in the Videos section that I did about my findings with supplements and the companies that produce them.
I was shocked to find out that there are no regulations in place. Always go for the reputable brands. Even if it is a reputable store that you are buying from online, check the brand is legitimate. Studies have shown that many supplements from sources not as well known or bought online actually contain 83 per cent less of the substance than is claimed on the label.
Another Valerian supplement that works for me is Dormeasan which you can find in most pharmacies or health stores.
My favorite supplement is an amino acid called L-Tryptophan. It naturally occurs in foods like turkey and helps regulate the nervous system.
Finally, sleep is essential for brain function and performance. This means the quality of your sleep impacts your work and your mood.
The worst form of torture is sleep deprivation – ask new mums and dads about that!
After a good night of sleep, I see “La vie en rose” (life in pink) and I find myself being a better mother, a better friend, a better partner in life and in business.
Summary About Sleep and Weight Loss
To summarize the above, no matter how well you eat and exercise, if you do not get proper sleep, all your efforts will be in vain. If you don’t eat nutritiously and take the right exercise, or lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you will be more prone to sleep disturbances.
Sleep is definitely necessary for good health and it is never too late to get out of poor sleep patterns. Many people that have had poor sleeping patterns for decades have turned their lives around on the Eat Burn Sleep program.
They have reset their bodies into good sleep patterns with the right nutrition and lifestyle guidance – and lost weight.
You may be interested in listening to my podcast on mental health and chronic inflammation.
Also, you can sample a couple of the (220+) anti-inflammatory gut health recipes that are on the program:
Make sleep a priority and your performance at work – and play – will also be positively impacted.
Your mental and physical wellbeing will be enhanced, you will lose weight and life will be enjoyed more!
Have a lovely day!