The Amazing Role of Sleep in Fitness

When it comes to fitness, most people think of exercises and yes, diet. However, there is a third ingredient, sleep. Even if you exercise and take the best diet as well as hydrate, if you lack sleep, you are doing nothing.  Elude sleep at your own peril.

Think about the last time you had a bad night of sleep. How did you feel when you woke up? Exhausted. Dazed. Confused. Maybe even a little grumpy? It’s not just your brain and body that feel that way – your fat cells do too.

The zzzzzz workout

Lack of Sleep vs Fat Cells:

With several days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin becomes completely disrupted. The University of Chicago researchers found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30 percent.

Here’s why that’s bad:

When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent storage. When you become more insulin resistant, fats (lipids) circulate in your blood and pump out more insulin. Eventually this excess insulin ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, such as tissues like your liver. And this is exactly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes. Essentially, stress and lack of sleep cause diabetes in this clear fashion.

Mathew Brady, the study author as well as associate professor of medicine and vice-chair of the Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition at the University of Chicago said:

“We found that fat cells need sleep to function properly.”

man sleeping

Lack of Sleep and Obesity:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35% of the people are sleep deprived. When you consider the statistic for obesity, they are nearly identical. It is easy to connect the dots and discover that the connection is not a coincidence.

Affecting Body Organs:

Sleep deprivation has long been associated with impaired brain function, causing decreased alertness and reduced cognitive ability. The University of Chicago Medicine researchers in the Oct. 16 2012 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, first description of a molecular mechanism directly connecting sleep loss to the disruption of energy regulation in humans, a process that can lead over time to weight gain, diabetes and other health problems. The study suggests that sleep’s role in energy metabolism is at least as important as it is in brain function.


Sleep Deprivation vs Dieting and Exercise:

Not sleeping enough -less than seven hours of sleep per night- can reduce and undo the benefits of dieting. From the results above, lack of sleep disrupts fat cells and you end up with excess insulin, an unhealthy liver and basically fat. If the fitness goal was to fight excess fat, lack of sleep introduces a game of pouring water using a mug, into the ocean. You will be fighting a losing battle.

Also, muscles and fat are not friends. More fat means less muscle. It has been proven that lack of sleep means muscle loss. Less muscle means more fat. Again, the losing battle arises.


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