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December 21, 2017
Happy New Year ... go back to bed!
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 New Year’s Resolutions are the worst. Primarily, we come up with things that are impossible to sustain. For example, when we can’t maintain our goal of waking up at 4:00 am to get to the insanity boot camp class at 5:00 am every morning, we feel like a failure, and it’s only January 10th.

                Here is the issue. Most of us have resolutions regarding health and fitness. Making changes to improve our health is wonderful!  What I am going to discuss today, is that many of these goals fail, because to make time for our new fitness or health plan, we deduct time from our sleep schedule. Sleep is imperative for both your physical and mental health, and that is what we are going to discuss today. So, Happy New Year! Go back to bed.

                How much sleep should we be getting? For adults aged 26-64 years, the recommended range of sleep hours by the National Sleep Foundation is 7-9 consecutive hours. For some populations, they do note that 6 hours, or 10 hours may be appropriate. Less than 6 hours is not recommended for an adult, and may have consequences both cognitively and metabolically. Ideally, 7 or more uninterrupted hours of sleep allows our body sufficient time to cycle 4-5 times through REM and non-REM sleep.

                Your sleep affects your appetite.

If you have a night of low, or interrupted sleep, you will be hungrier the following day. This is because of a hormone made in your stomach, called ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced in higher quantities when our sleep is low. Ghrelin is a food seeking hormone, so when it is present in our system, we will want to go find food. So tired people, are hungry people.

Moreover, a hormone made by our fat cells, called leptin, that is also reduced when we are tired. The purpose of leptin is to help maintain and regulate body weight. It is produced by our fat cells, so when our body weight increases, more leptin is produced, suppressing our hunger to reduce our food intake to encourage weight loss. Over time if an individual is chronically sleep deprived, these leptin signals are lessened, so the hunger suppression is turned off.

                Your sleep directly affects your stress level.

Sleep is supposed to be a time to rest and get refreshed for the coming day. Cortisol levels decrease in deep sleep. If someone gets a restful night’s sleep, they should wake with cortisol levels at zero. Cortisol levels will then increase as the morning progresses. With sleep deprivation, individuals awaken with cortisol levels already increased. The body feels that it has awoken in traffic, yet you are still in bed, and you have the rest of the day for cortisol levels to rise.

                Sleep deprivation affects your mood.

This is a no-brainer (pun intended). A lack of restorative sleep causes fatigue, both physical and mental, issues concentrating, and even impaired emotional regulation. Couple this with increased hunger, and increased cortisol, we could really have some problems.


                So resolutions are a great idea, but work them around your sleep schedule. If you need to wake up early to get to an early workout class, go to bed earlier. A good night’s sleep is essential for balancing stress, appetite, mood and overall health.  





Written by Andy Miller

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