Don’t Give Up on Sleep

Don’t Give Up on Sleep

Originally posted on Vie 2 Cycling. 

Work hard/play hard- right?
It’s easy to think that getting enough sleep is a distant third in importance.  In fact, it’s vital.  Most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep to restore the body and mind.  The effects of too little sleep go beyond feeling tired.  Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to higher BMI (body mass index).
Sleep deprivation reduces activity in your brain’s frontal cortex which effects decision making and impulse control.  In a recent study published in the Journal of Nature Communications (Dr. Walker et al) found that lack of clarity can have a role in weight gain, causing us to crave carbohydrate dense foods and reducing our willpower to say no.

Sleep deprivation also effects several hormones associated with hunger and weigh gain.  When sleep deprived, our bodies produce more Ghrelin and less Leptin.  Ghrelin is responsible for signaling the brain that you’re hungry and and Leptin causes that full feeling telling us that we’ve had enough.  An imbalance in these two hormone levels can lead to overeating when tired.

Cortisol levels, the stress hormone, can also spike when sleep deprived.  Cortisol signals your body to conserve fuel (ie. store fat), and elevated levels of cortisol promotes weight gain.

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