Why Lack of Sleep Leads to Weight Gain

October 18, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

The link between sleep deprivation and weight gain has long been established. But this new study had demonstrated the reason why…

The link between sleep deprivation and weight gain has long been established. But now a new study conducted at the University of Chicago has demonstrated why this happens.

And the findings are alarming: not getting enough shuteye can have serious consequences for your health. Here’s the scoop…

A small group of young, healthy, and normal weight test subjects were periodically observed in a sleep lab over four weeks. They would come in for four days at a time and sleep 8.5 hours per night. After the four weeks they came to the lab for another four-day period but this time they were only allowed to sleep for 4.5 hours. Their diet remained unchanged during the entire study and they were also instructed not to exercise.

Their insulin sensitivity was tested at the end of the initial four-week period (i.e. after adequate restful sleep) and immediately after the four-day deprivation. The researchers also performed biopsies on their fat cells. The results were nothing short of shocking: total body insulin response dropped by 16% and that of their fat cells dropped by 30%.

Now here’s why this matters – a lot. When your body becomes insulin resistant, your pancreas needs to secrete more of the hormone to clear sugar from your blood. This is insulin’s primary purpose and it’s very adamant about doing so. After all, if your blood sugar isn’t kept within a very narrow range (about one teaspoon in your entire circulatory system) you’ll get very sick and even die.

But aside from clearing sugar from your blood, insulin also pushes fat into your fat cells. Furthermore, it prevents the release of fatty acids into your blood stream so they can be burned for energy. The end result is that you become more and more overweight while your insulin levels remain high.

And based on this study, we now know that lack of sleep leads to insulin resistance, and hence, contributes to obesity. Therefore, if you’re trying to lose weight, pay just as much attention to the amount of sleep you get as to the foods you put in your mouth (and your levels of activity). It’s just one more way to fight the battle of the bulge from all angles – and eventually win.

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Comments (3)

  1. I think this is a real great blog.Really thank you! Awesome.

  2. Trace Skeen

    I have trouble sleeping at night. Usually a couple of 2 hour naps before deep rest around 4:30am. Does resting or reading in bed compensate for not falling asleep? What sleep aids do you recommend. (I am retired and not required, for the most part, to awake at a certain hour)

    • Nadia Karanastasis

      Hi Trace,

      You may want to try potato starch at night. Here is some information on it:

      You probably know how important sleep is when it comes to having a flat stomach. In short, if you’re not getting enough, or… if it’s not the deep, quality kind that leaves you feeling fresh in the morning… shedding bellyfat can be tough.

      Given this, I have a great tip for you today to help you:

      a) Get better, deeper sleep with more vivid dreams.
      b) Cut down a bit of belly fat each night.

      Here’s the scoop…

      As it turns out, drinking some resistant starch before bed is an easy way to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. Not only that, resistant starch has been proven to fight belly fat.

      But what is “resistant starch?”

      Basically, it’s a special type of fiber you can’t digest. On the other hand, it’s a superfood for your friendly gut bacteria – the trillions of little microbes that control your immune system, your mood, and most of all, your weight.

      And when you feed your friendly gut bugs resistant starch, they produce substances that improve sleep and trim your tummy… at the same time!

      So, where can you get this resistant starch?

      Your local health food store. Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch is a good choice. Just stir a tablespoon in a glass of water before bed and have at it. Your friendly gut bugs will love it, and… you’ll enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep AND a flatter stomach. That said…

      Just like resistant starch is a superfood for your friendly gut bugs… there’s another food that’s more like kryptonite for these tiny microbes. It quickly wipes them out and can result in poor sleep and even more belly fat.

      The worst part?

      It’s found almost everywhere… it’s even made its way into your water supply so it’s impossible to avoid it.

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