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Inadequate Sleep Increases Likelihood For Insulin Resistance And Weight Gain

Think you can run on 5 hours of sleep or less at night and get through the day with coffee or other caffeine products? You may be able to get away with it for a while, but make no mistakes it’s taking a tool on your body.

I have to chuckle when people give me the tough guy lingo of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” My response is you’re heading there sooner if that’s what you really want. The human body needs rest and recovery for regeneration and when insufficient sleep occurs over a prolonged period of time, hormonal balances get completely out of whack. Here are some great snoring solutions to help you get a better nights sleep.

Recent research published on MySleepyFerret has shown that individuals who habitually sleep six or fewer hours a night are at an increased risk of developing diabetes and coronary heart disease. At the crux of this is the association of sleep deprivation and insulin resistance. This seems to be the common denominator and precursor leading to inflammation in the body.

While the time frame will vary from person to person, when researchers restrict young and middle age adults to about five hours of sleep a night for only one to two weeks, they become more insulin resistant. The studies show some very pretty significant correlations.

In a meta-analysis of 24 different studies that followed more than 474,000 men and women for 7 to 25 years, those who reported sleeping less than six hours a night had a 48 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease than those who slept six to eight hours. Read that again. We’re talking about almost a 50% increased risk for heart disease!

Researchers also have substantial evidence from experiments in people that sleep deprivation leads to an increase in food intake. This is thought to be the result of increases in the hormone ghrelin that stimulates appetite and decreases in leptin, a hormone that inhibits appetite.

The combination of decreased insulin sensitivity and increased food consumption is at the root of insulin resistance and type II diabetes. What happens is the body loses its ability to deal with elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels and this opens the door to inflammation and weight gain.

There’s little question that when you restrict sleep you’re setting yourself up for problems. I believe in the importance of adequate rest and recovery so much that it’s one of the core components in my “Lean Code Method” for body transformation. Sleep is equally important as a supportive nutrition diet and regular exercise. You can’t pull one piece out of the puzzle and expect to see favorable results in a fitness or weight loss program.

Sure, eating a clean diet and exercising regularly is going to help offset some of the damage caused by sleep deprivation, but it’s going to be extremely difficult to see body composition changes without adequate rest.

Here’s what I know without a shadow of a doubt. While you can “get by” by inadequate sleep if you’re exercising and eating healthy, there’s no way you’re going to develop lean muscle from resistance training workouts. Deep sleep is essential in the anabolic phases of regrowth and rebuilding of lean tissue.

I tell my Charleston personal training clients all the time that you can break down muscle with all-out efforts in your weight training workouts, but if you’re not getting sufficient sleep you won’t be seeing much of a pay-off for your hard work. In fact, you could be making things worse! High intensity workouts are seen as stress on the human body. It’s a good kind of stress though as long as you’re supporting the rebuilding and growth phases.

However, if cortisol levels remain elevated for prolonged periods of time, you put yourself in a catabolic state. This simply means you’re breaking down lean muscle, not building it.

If you’re not getting sufficient sleep for whatever reason, you need to take any and all measures necessary to see that you fix it. There’s no question it’s that important to your health. That may require significant changes in your lifestyle habits but only you can determine the priority of your health.

Obviously regular exercise is going to be one of the best things you can do to improve sleep patterns. However, if you have problems sleeping I’d recommend you exercise earlier in the day and not at night. While I’m not big on sleep medications long-term, there are some beneficial herbs that you can experiment with. Try some bed-time or “sleepy” teas and perhaps taking a warm-bath or shower before hitting the sack.

If problems with sleeping persist you should consider a sleep study along with consulting with your physician. Things like sleep apnea can be pose significant risks and often times people don’t even know it exists. Bottom line is do whatever it takes to see that you’re able to get deep, restful sleep during the night on a regular basis.

Shane Doll
is a certified Charleston fitness trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness programs with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. Sign up for a FREE, no-obligations consultation today.

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Category: Hormones & Health.