Boost your Metabolism with Sleep

Being sleep deprived can prevent you from effectively shedding extra pounds.
( [email protected] ) Apr 17, 2004 08:54 AM EDT

Being sleep deprived doesn’t only make you feel tired and ineffective – it may make you feel hungry even when you are full and lead to an increase in fat storage.

Are you sleep deprived?

Do you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow?

Do you routinely sleep through your alarm?

Do you often awaken feeling unrefreshed?

Are you plagued by daytime sleepiness?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be sleep deprived.

How much sleep do we need?

Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep for optimal rest. Some texts say nine hours is the perfect amount for slowing the aging process, for recuperation from stress and for complete rejuvenation. Adequate and effective sleep is crucial to health. This is because hormones, like melatonin and growth hormone, which have beneficial effects on our body tissues, healing mechanisms and metabolism are released during sleep.

Not sleeping enough or not sleeping in complete darkness will decrease our production of melatonin, while insomnia, sleep apnea or just not making sleep a priority will result in decreased levels of growth hormone. Decreased amounts of growth hormone have also been found in individuals with poor quality sleep or insufficient amounts of deep sleep.

Along with low levels of melatonin and growth hormone, stress hormone levels—particularly cortisol—increase. Cortisol results in increased appetite despite ample food intake, typical of people with sleep deprivation.

The increased fat storage also found with sleep deprivation seems to be a result of an impaired ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates which leads to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels then lead to increased levels of insulin, our body’s signal to store unused energy as fat. The end result is weight gain or an inability to lose weight easily.

Being overweight may lead to more sleep problems

Sleep apnea, an obstructive breathing disease, is much more common in overweight people, further perpetuating this situation. Back problems as well as symptoms of depression (which sometimes accompanies obesity) may interfere with healthy sleep patterns and habits.

What can you do?

1. Watch your sleep habits as closely as your eating habits. Use our list of sleep tips to maximize the quality and quantity of your sleep and follow your Truestar Nutrition Plan carefully. The Truestar diet will help you keep your blood sugar levels steady and your insulin levels low, both of which are essential for weight loss.

2. If you have tried our sleep tips for two weeks with no improvement in your sleep, consider one of our natural sleep aids like melatonin, GABA or valerian.

3. Consider taking the amino acid glutamine. A dosage of 2,000 mg per day was found to increase growth hormone secretion as well as improve recovery time after exercise.