The Ugly Truth About Sleep Deprivation, and How to Combat it
What does tipping the scale and waving off Mr.Sandman have in common? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of Americans are sleep deprived....and just as many people are also overweight. Coincidence? Hint: We wouldn’t have written this article if it was.
Several studies have shown a direct link between lack of sleep and weight gain. In fact, sleep deprivation contributes just as much to fat mass/obesity as a lack of exercise, poor diet, and genetics.
Here’s how we got there:
A research study on identical twins sharing the same genetic history, BMI (body mass index), and diet/exercise plan, showed that that the BMI levels were higher on the subject lacking sleep. The study showed that sleeping less than seven hours a night was associated with an increased BMI. The study also showed that sufficient sleep can lower the effect genetics plays on your weight. So whether or not you have a family history of obesity, you are less likely to follow in that same pattern if you are getting enough sleep.
Food for thought? We think so.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Yet the average American adult sleeps just 6 ½ hours per night during the workweek. Shift workers (those who work nights, on-call, or rotating shifts) usually tend to be sleep-deprived, getting an average of 2-4 hours less sleep than the average American worker.
That’s 4 ½ hours of sleep on average. Brutal.
Here’s a few ways all that lack of sleep is making those scrubs/uniform pinch a little tighter in the waist:
Your Brain and Your Body
A study conducted at the University of Berkeley had participants rate their desire for certain foods both when they had sufficient sleep, and again when they were sleep-deprived. The study showed that that when sleep-deprived, the amygdala portion of the brain (which is responsible for emotions, pleasure, and appetite) was hyperactive. Subjects continuously rated unhealthy, high-carb foods as more desirable than when they had adequate rest.
In short, those lacking enough sleep craved all the donuts. Ever wonder why you have “the munchies” at night? This is one reason sleep deprivation hurts diets- you crave high-calorie, carb dense foods. And because your insular cortex, another part of the brain, is weakened from lack of sleep, you’ll have trouble fighting the urge to resist the junk food offered to you.
It’s like a one-two punch to the pooch and your mood.
Those of you who work a night shift know exactly what types of food are available for you during your work hours. You don’t exactly see fruit and veggie platters on display, do you? But I’ll bet money a coworker is happy to share their chips and dip, and the vending machines are always chucked full of the unhealthy, calorie dense foods all that sleep-deprivation has you craving.
Hunger and Hormones
Have you ever heard someone say their hormones are out of whack? Well, that’s completely true if you’re lacking in the sleep department.
Studies have shown that hunger is controlled by two hormones: Leptin (responsible for making you feel satiated, or full), and Ghrelin (responsible for your appetite/hunger).
The less leptin that’s produced, the more empty (and GRUMPY) your stomach feels. So when you eat, leptin hormones are secreted and hello, satisfaction.
Ghrelin, on the other hand, increases your appetite, stimulating hunger. In short, when you’re not getting adequate sleep, your leptin levels will drop significantly, and your ghrelin levels will rise. One particular study found that people who slept for only five hours had 15.5% lower leptin, and 14.9% higher ghrelin, in comparison to those who received a full eight hours of sleep.
Recipe. For. Disaster.
Cortisol is another hormone affected by sleep. It’s released in response to stress, and rises when you don’t get enough rest. Cortisol triggers reward centers in your brain that makes you want food, and its levels are closely tied to our natural sleep/wake cycles. When your sleep cycle is interrupted, it changes your levels and causes a spike of cortisol in your bloodstream.
In addition to feeling stressed, cortisol also causes fat to be stored around your organs, and even increases the size of your fat cells.
A combination of cortisol and high ghrelin have a negative effect on your leptin levels--meaning you feel hungry all the time (even if you just enjoyed a big healthy meal).
Essentially, when you combine all of the problems with sleep deprivation and food, you get an unhealthy combination of always being hungry, craving junk food, overeating, and lacking the mental ability to refuse bad food.
Those who work in high-stress environments (usually night shift workers) are 20% more likely to be obese than those who work in relaxed environments. In addition, night shift workers who diet and eat fewer calories tend to lose more muscle and maintain fat.
As you can read, stress is a real jerk.
When you have sufficient sleep, your metabolism is a working champ--effectively breaking down the calories you absorb. However, if you’re not well rested, your metabolism feels like you--sluggish. And when your metabolism is struggling, it will struggle keeping up with your food consumption. This means more sugar in your bloodstream, which eventually converts into fat.
The science and research is all there. Sleep deprivation affects your weight. BUT… this is where NightRevive comes a callin’. All the ingredients in NightRevive have been thoroughly researched to have properties that counteract the hormone imbalances, cravings, and slow metabolism that come from sleep deprivation.
NightRevive was formulated with key ingredients that combat the problems we just got depressed reading about:
- Green Tea Extract is an antioxidant that increases your metabolism and is a champ of a nutrient that helps your body burn unwanted fat.
- Vitamin D increases your muscle AND bone mass. It also increases the metabolic rate needed to burn calories while sleeping, while boosting your immune system. Medical experts recommend supplementing at least 1,000 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D daily, exactly the amount found in NightRevive.
- Creatine isn’t just for bodybuilders. It’s responsible for increasing your muscle mass and metabolic rate, while also providing energy for your heart and brain.
- R-Alpha Lipoic Acid: is a fatty acid antioxidant that suppresses your appetite, treats weight gain associated with stress, stabilizes your blood sugar, and speeds up carb utilization.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL is an amino acid that works with the alpha lipoic acid. It helps mitochondria cells use energy. It helps burn fats for fuel efficiently.
- Vitamin B Complex helps convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. Basically this helps us make better use of the carbs we consume, and also helps curb our appetites.
If there’s one take away from reading this, it’s that sleep is IMPORTANT, and there is a direct correlation between sleep and weight gain. Having an adequate amount helps you resist temptation, make smarter food choices, and maintain a good metabolism.
Like we’ve said- ideally, we’d all love to get an average of 8 hours of consistent sleep at night, but that’s not exactly reality and that’s why NightRevive was developed by Dr. Danny Spencer-- to help anyone get the proper nutrients and clean energy despite a lack of quality sleep.