by Will Grumke May 14, 2021 6 min read
It seems that in large part, the hectic American lifestyle could be to blame for nationwide sleep deprivation.
With our busy schedules, and the ever-increasing social forces surrounding us on a daily basis, we seem to be spending less and less time in bed.
There never seems to be enough time in a day to get everything we "need" to done, and so we find ourselves rising earlier and going to bed later ...
Which might not seem like a big deal ... but the reality of the situation is that your sleeping habits can impact your immune system, memory, outward appearances, and performance.
A fun fact; one night without sleep can leave you performing like you were legally drunk at a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.
If you’re sleeping poorly on most nights, the negative effects could be worse.
There are a host of health problems that can be associated with chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other infections.
It can cause you to feel irritable and experience mood swings, reduce your ability to deal with stress, as well as increasing your chances of having depression and anxiety.
In short, most aspects of life are largely dependent upon sleep.
For example, a number of studies have reported changes to key hormone levels and recently, how many calories your body burns the day after an ‘all-nighter’.
Additionally, large studies over the course of several years regularly show that decreases in how much you sleep each night can progressively increase your risk of developing obesity and diabetes-related complications [1, 2].
One of the greatest examples of this found that women who sleep less than five hours per night had the highest body weights of women in the study.
In comparison, women who slept a normal amount (7 to 8 hours) had what was considered to be a normal body weight .
While many theories exist, a number of studies have reported that being low on sleep increases the level of ghrelin, particularly in the early morning hours [3, 4].
Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced mostly in our stomach and when produced, it signals our body to be hungry while also decreasing how many calories are burned by the body .
Scientists feel like these increases are some of the first cues by the body to help compensate for the lack of sleep and stress placed on the body as a result of the low levels of sleep.
Whether it’s related or not to the changes in ghrelin, studies which have imposed short-term decreases in sleep have shown that the total amount of food consumed over a 24-hour period was increased.
This was the case particularly in foods considered to be snack foods or which could be characterized as calorically dense ... or on the flip side, lacking nutrient density [6-8].
A great way to track and monitor your food consumption would be to utilize the 1st Phorm App.
In addition, studies have also shown that when the body is sleep-deprived, natural levels of physical activity (which will burn calories and help maintain a favorable balance) are decreased .
Makes sense right?
I know when I’m exhausted, I tend to not move around as much, but when considered as a whole, these changes all lead to a greater calorie surplus (you’re eating more calories, and burning less calories) which over time will increase body mass and levels of body fat.
Recently, a study reported that just one night of complete sleep deprivation decreases energy expenditure by 5% at rest, but this decrease was 4x greater after a meal was consumed, resulting in a 20% reduction in the number of calories being burned by the body.
There are pretty consistent findings that going without adequate sleep is a surefire way to get your body out of whack and off-kilter.
Putting on pounds of muscle or losing fat can be challenging enough … depriving yourself of quality sleep will make it even more challenging.
The quality of sleep we get is crucial, not just the quantity.
Sleep consists of two types of slumber: REM sleep includes rapid eye movement and dreaming, while non-REM sleep includes four stages ranging from light to deep sleep.
Each night you pass through 4-6 cycles of REM and non-REM sleep.
It is in these deeper stages of sleep that the body restores itself, giving you that refreshed feeling. As we age, we typically spend less time getting the stage-four kind of rest.
If you want to set your body up for earning the best results possible, making quality sleep a priority in your life is a great place to start. You might be asking yourself, “what can you start doing today to increase your sleep quality?”
All in all, sleep is an important aspect of your life to allow your body to work effectively.
Whether it’s decreasing how many calories are burned by your body, increases in hormones that cause you to eat more food, poor recovery, overall fatigue or any of the other negative consequences from poor quality sleep... the impact of poor sleep rears its ugly head in many directions.
Considering that all of these studies were done in the context of no exercise, one can only imagine how these changes are influenced when the stress of regular exercise and the demand for recovery are added to the mix...
If you have any questions or need any help at all reaching your fat loss goals, please never hesitate to reach out!
We have a fully staffed team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialists that will help you for free! They are available Monday thru Friday, 6 am to 10 pm CST, at 1-800-409-9732 … or anytime via email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com!
Will Grumke is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.