Healthy Insights

Restless Sleep and Weight Gain April 01 2018

Hey, you! Yeah, you, person reading this hunched over his computer at 3AM: get off the computer and go to bed, you silly night owl! (Note: For all you people reading this during normal-people hours, the above statement doesn’t apply to you. Keep reading anyways, because some knowledge is about to get dropped.)

Most people don’t need a scientific study to know that lack of sufficient, restful sleep has a number of negative consequences -- increased irritability and stress, dulled reaction times, higher sensitivity to illness, and so on.

Here’s something you might not know: it’s making you fat. In fact, if we want to get specific, not only is it making you fat, but it’s also making you more susceptible to cardiovascular and metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and God knows what else. Really, that list alone should be sufficient to scare you into your pajamas.

Here’s the science behind it:

Let’s say you get a full night’s rest. During that night, your body produces leptin, a hormone that tells your body it’s in a state of relaxation, minimal energy is being spent, and there’s no need to search for calories. Throughout the course of your restful sleep cycle, another hormone called ghrelin is produced and properly regulated. You wake up, refreshed and ready to go.

In the alternate scenario, you toss and turn until 4 in the morning, unable to sleep. You produce inadequate leptin, signaling to the body that it needs energy ASAP. To compensate, your body goes haywire and decides to overcompensate with ghrelin. A ghrelin buffet -- an embarrassment of ghrelin, if you will.

Fun fact about ghrelin: it signals to your body when it needs more energy (i.e. calories). Too much of it and you feel like you could eat a horse.

Ah, science.

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Our bodies are incredibly complex, interdependent ecosystems, and every aspect of our health, whether it’s sleep, diet, exercise, or mental well-being, has been shown, time and time again, to feed into each other. Somehow, though, prioritizing sleep seems to fall on the bottom of list when we’re crossing off the checklist to the Newer, Healthier You.

Here are some tips to make sure you get to bed on-time and get amazing sleep, leaving you bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and (mostly) ghrelin-free in the morning.

  • Set an alarm for 30 minutes before your desired bedtime. Use this trigger to force yourself into getting ready for bed at an appropriate time -- even when there’s half a season of House of Cards left waiting in your Netflix queue.
  • Have rituals centered around going to bed. Sip a cup of chamomile tea, take a hot shower, curl into bed with a book. Whatever it is, do it consistently. Every day. In the same order, if possible. Eventually, these actions will signal to your body that it’s time to settle into dreamland and you’ll naturally start getting sleepy. 
  • Make your bed your sanctuary. In the same vein as the above, if all you associate with your bed is sleep, then your body will naturally understand that when you climb into bed, it’s time to sleep. Simple as that. 
  • Exercise, preferably in the day. 
  • Avoid using electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before you go to bed, ideally for longer. No, a quick scan of Facebook before bed isn’t going to kill you, but the blue light emitted by your device screens is shown to suppress natural melatonin production -- which means you’re more likely to wake up tired and cranky. If it’s completely unavoidable, install an application that tempers or blocks this blue light, such as F.lux. 
  • If you’re the type of person that stays up tossing and turning or you’re still getting adjusted to a regular sleep schedule, consider taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, which helps regulate our sleep and wake cycles. (We do not recommend taking melatonin for regular long-term use. There’s a chance it could affect your body’s natural melatonin production, and no formal studies have been conducted showing the potential effects of sustained usage.)
  • Last but not least—in the words of a wise children’s book author Adam Mansbach, go the (bleep) to sleep. Sweet dreams.

Need Sleep? Who doesn't? February 14 2018

Why Is Sleep Health Important?

Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. Sleep is a basic requirement for infant, child, and adolescent health and development. Sleep loss and untreated sleep disorders influence basic patterns of behavior that negatively affect family health and interpersonal relationships. Fatigue and sleepiness can reduce productivity and increase the chance for mishaps such as medical errors and motor vehicle or industrial accidents.

Go ahead, snooze!

Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

Adequate sleep is necessary to:

  • Fight off infection
  • Support the metabolism of sugar to prevent diabetes
  • Perform well in school
  • Work effectively and safely

Try Sleep Spray for a great nights sleep!


Sleep: Your Secret Weapon for Weight Loss February 01 2018

If you are serious about losing weight, you must get high-quality, restorative sleep.  Sound simple? It’s serious and it’s easy to overlook. Do not dismiss this. Too many people deprive themselves of sleep on a regular basis and destroy their ability to lose weight.

When you’re sleep deprived your body simply cannot burn fat and lose weight efficiently. Sleep deprivation depresses your metabolism, increases food intake, and tells your body to store fat. 1-11 Scientific research shows that people who struggle with poor sleep are much more likely to have “major weight gain”. 10

Poor sleep wreaks havoc on your system causing multiple, cascading problems:

  • Slower Metabolism11  

    Lack of sleep depresses your metabolism by as much as 20% – undermining your body’s ability to burn fat and lose weight.

  • Hungrier, More Snacking4,5

    Your hormones are thrown out-of-balance: ghrelin skyrockets, stimulating appetite, while leptin plummets, telling your body you’re not full. A recipe for disaster.

  • Higher Carbs & Fat4

    Sleep not only makes you eat more, it also results in a stronger predisposition for foods rich in fat and carbohydrates.

  • Less Exercise3, 6

    Not enough sleep results in less exercise and an overall drop in physical movement. Your body begins to conserve energy, destroying your weight loss goals.

  • Retain More Fat9

    People who get more sleep burn fat much more efficiently. Research shows that the sleep-deprived burn 55% less fat than the well-rested.

  • Fatter as an Adult3, 6

    Not getting enough sleep as a child can increase the risk for obesity by nearly double. Some studies show that children are 9% more likely to become obese for every hour of nightly sleep deprivation.

You must protect your sleep because your sleep protects your ability to lose weight - which in turn protects your health. And sleeping well doesn’t happen by accident. You decide to do it. You take the risks of not sleeping well seriously. You treat sleep as a priority in your life.

 

References:

1. Harvard School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source. Sleep. 2012. Available at: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and-obesity/. Accessed December 18, 2014.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Features - Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic. Cdcgov. 2014. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/. Accessed December 15, 2014.

3. Patel S, Hu F. Short Sleep Duration and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review. Obesity. 2008;16(3):643-653. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.118.

4. Spiegel K. Brief Communication: Sleep Curtailment in Healthy Young Men Is Associated with Decreased Leptin Levels, Elevated Ghrelin Levels, and Increased Hunger and Appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2004;141(11):846. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-11-200412070-00008.

5. SCHMID S, HALLSCHMID M, JAUCH-CHARA K, BORN J, SCHULTES B. A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men. Journal of Sleep Research. 2008;17(3):331-334. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00662.x.

6. Gupta N, Mueller W, Chan W, Meininger J. Is obesity associated with poor sleep quality in adolescents?. American Journal of Human Biology. 2002;14(6):762-768. doi:10.1002/ajhb.10093.

7. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. Plos Med. 2004;1(3):e62. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062.

8. Kohatsu N. Sleep Duration and Body Mass Index in a Rural Population. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2006;166(16):1701. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.16.1701.

9. Nedeltcheva A, Kilkus J, Imperial J, Schoeller D, Penev P. Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2010;153(7):435. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006.

10. Lyytikäinen P, Lallukka T, Lahelma E, Rahkonen O. Sleep problems and major weight gain: a follow-up study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2010;35(1):109-114. doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.113.

11. Benedict C, Hallschmid M, Lassen A et al. Acute sleep deprivation reduces energy expenditure in healthy men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;93(6):1229-1236. doi:10.3945/ajcn.110.006460.