Sleep Deprivation and Metabolism
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I read an article on here today (the featured article on the home page) about metabolism mistakes. Most were things I knew, but I saw this statement in the section on focusing on one thing at a time and was struck by it:
DEAN (Behavioral Psychology & Stress Management Expert)
Speaking of sleep, there is a large and growing body of research showing that even mild sleep deprivation has adverse effects on metabolism. There are several pathways involved here, but one of the main mechanisms appears to involve leptin and insulin (hormones associated with appetite). Apparently sleep deprivation generates the same biological state as sustained calorie deprivation: high night-time cortisol levels, which in turn leads to insulin resistance and decreased concentrations of leptin (the appetite-suppressing hormone released by body fat). In effect, your brain starts thinking you're in the middle of a food scarcity situation, and turns your appetite up several notches, and reduces your need for sleep even more so you have more time for foraging.
My daughter was a terrible sleeper for a long time. It's only been in the past couple of months that it's gotten under control (knock on wood!) on a sustained basis. And now I'm super busy at work. I have probably averaged 5-6 hours of sleep a night over the past two years. But I haven't been feeling *tired*, and I generally wake up after 6 or so hours on the weekend. I assumed that meant I just didn't need more sleep (even though I fall asleep on the couch with some regularity). This article suggests otherwise. And may provide some explanation for my desire to forage in the evening.
Apparently I need to be working on getting more sleep. How does one reverse that cycle? As I said, I tend to just wake up now after 5-6 hours, even if no kid is awake and trying to get my attention and even if my alarm isn't blaring. Also, how do I restructure my day to allow more time for sleep? I've been sacrificing sleep for exercise for a few months now, and I'm not sure where else I can make up time -- I don't feel like I waste much.
I've got things to ponder.