Sleep: Does It Really Help Your Metabolism?
Getting a good nights sleep is one of the best things you can do for your metabolism and your overall health. Sleep is an important time when the body heals, repairs and rests. During sleep the body works to regulate hormone levels , repairs tissues, and processes and regulates emotions. Good sleep also helps slow down the aging process and minimizes our risk for illness and disease.
In my previous blog post "What You Probably Don't Know About The Metabolism & Hormones" , I explained how hormones play a critical role in the functioning of our metabolisms. Sleeping less that 6-7 hours per night can have serious health implications, interfere with the bodys ability to regulate hormones and can send the metabolism into a low functioning spiral.
The valuable time we spend under the comforter is vital in our mission to keep our hormones balanced.
Sleep loss can cause disturbances with these important metabolism hormones:
Leptin is a hormone that plays a large part in regulating our appetite. Stored in our fat tissue, leptin sends signals that we are satiated from the food we eat. Leptin works with other hormones like thyroid hormone, cortisol, insulin and ghrelin to help figure out how hungry we are, how fast it will burn off the food we just ate and if it will hold on to or release weight.
After you eat a meal, the fat cells in your body release this hormone and sends signals to the part of the brain (hypothalamus) which regulates appetite, letting it know whether to switch our appetite on or off.
When we get adequate sleep, leptin is also released overnight. The surge of leptin during REM cycle sleep helps boost levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which helps release T4.
Lack of sleep decreases levels of leptin, leptin signaling can be impaired which keeps us eating because our brain doesn't feel like its had enough food.
The hormone Ghrelin is also part of regulating our appetite. Ghrelin is responsible for increasing our appetite, and can be found in the lining of our stomach and intestines. When we are hungry , we think about eating or when we are about to eat , our gut releases ghrelin.
Our bodies natural clock stimulates the release of ghrelin at certain times during the day and ghrelin levels will stay hight until we give our body enough nutrients to satisfy our needs. The signals can sometimes take a few minutes to kick in, so eating mindfully and slowly is important to giving our body time to communicate if we have had enough.
Lack of sleep increases levels of ghrelin. This of course leading to increased appetite, increased cravings, extra calories and potential weight gain.
The stress hormone cortisol plays a key role in the bodys metabolism. With the widespread problem of chronic stress in our culture from our stress filled lives, and the over abundance of cortisol levels from that stress, the last thing we should want to do is give our body another opportunity to release more cortisol. Sleep deprivation can also cause you to become more sensitive to stress through out the day.
Lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels. Getting adequate sleep is critical in managing our stress and balancing the stress related hormones.
Since our metabolisms are made up of hormones, and hormones play a significant role in our ability to burn fat and lose weight, hormone balance and regulation are a key piece of mastering our unique metabolisms. Lack of sleep can lead to many hormonal imbalances that could keep us fighting an uphill battle with our metabolism.
Making it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, consistently, is an important lifestyle habit to adapt to master our metabolism. Try going to sleep 1 hour earlier than normal to get closer to that 7-8 hour mark. My favorite tip is to start a bedtime ritual so you signal to your brain that you are getting ready to sleep.
How many hours of sleep do you get on average? Let me know in the comments below!
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The information in this presentation is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Milan Lekay, milanlekay.com 2019