In short, yes. And yes. According to much research there is evidence linking partial sleep deprivation, defined as sleeping less than 6 hours per night to weight gain.
How does sleep deprivation make you gain weight or negatively impact your health? 1. Restricted sleep is thought to increase the hormone ghrelin (makes you want to eat) and decrease leptin (tells you to stop eating), which promotes hunger. 2. Sleep restriction is also thought to increase cortisol release: a stress hormone. 3. People, who stay awake longer are more likely to snack excessively and possibly on the wrong foods. 4. Sleep deprivation may also alter the body's ability to manage body temperature, which can result in lowered energy expenditure and causing easier weight gain. 5. Inadequate hours or fragmented sleep contribute to worsening atherosclerosis which increases the risk for heart attack, increases high blood pressure and risk for diabetes. 6. Disruption of normal sleep patterns results in loss of alertness, cognitive dysfunction and increased catastrophic events such as motor vehicle crashes. 7. In fact, lack of sleep is associated with the development of many mental health disorders which may impact eating and exercise patterns!
How to combat sleep deprivation using the FAB Quotient™
FUEL: Stress, stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar raise the activity of the two wakefulness adrenal hormones: adrenalin and cortisol. Raised cortisol levels at night suppress the production of growth hormones, essential for daily tissue repair, and this effectively speeds up the ageing process. So a sensible starting place for a good night's sleep is to eat a diet that manages your blood glucose levels. (More about how to do this is found in FAB Quotient Book 1) Calming Minerals - A lack of calcium and especially magnesium can trigger or exacerbate sleep difficulties because they work together to calm the body and help relax nerves and muscles, thus reducing cramps and twitches. Magnesium levels may well be low if you are particularly stressed or consume too much sugar. Your diet is more likely to be low in magnesium than calcium – so make sure you are eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods such as seeds, nuts, green vegetables, wholegrains and seafood. Some people find it helpful to supplement 500mg of calcium and 300mg of magnesium at bedtime.
ACTIVATE: Doing regular exercise also helps you sleep better. This may be because exercise helps 'burn off' excess adrenalin and generally helps stabilise blood sugar, which regulate energy levels. Avoid exercise 3-4 hours before sleeping unless it is stretch based such as pilates or gentle yoga. Try using Breathing techniques to relax your mind and de-stress before bedtime. This will reduce your cortisol levels. If you would like to learn a calming breathing technique called the 4-7-8 breathing process, read FAB Book 1 available at www.resilientpeople.co.za The book also contains a step by step process on how to powernap effectively to help combat sleep deprivation.
BEHAVE: For many people with chronic sleep issues, simple lifestyle changes can help. These good habits are known as "sleep hygiene" . • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. • Make sure you are comfortable - get the right linen and wear sleeping garments that create ease for you. • Use the bed only for sleeping or sex. • Limit the time you spend in bed. Turn-in only when you are sleepy. If you don't fall asleep within 15 minutes or if you wake up and can't fall back to sleep within that amount of time, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy again. • Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and as quiet as possible. • Replace a worn-out or uncomfortable mattress. • Take a hot bath before bedtime