Are you tired all the time? Are you not seeing the physical results you were hoping for?  It could be due to lack of sleep!

Did you know that the quality of your sleep directly affects your body composition?

A study at the University of Chicago took participants with same food and exercise regimen and had a group get 8 hours of sleep while the other got 5.5 hours of sleep per night. The participants who slept 8 hours while still maintaining healthy diet and exercise lost 55% more body fat than the group who only slept 5.5 hours. 55%!

In another study, a group that slept less than 6 hours per night had a 32% increase in visceral fat compared to those who only had 13% increase in those who slept more than 6 hours per night. Visceral fat is your “belly fat” or the kind of fat that covers and goes in between all your organs, also known as the kind of fat you’re trying to lose!

Maintenance and development of your muscles is key to have optimal fat burning and calorie expenditure if you have more muscle on your frame. This means that muscle recovery is just as important as muscle growth. Human growth hormone (HGH) facilitates the body’s use of amino acids. Amino acids are essential for muscle growth and maintenance of your body’s protein. If HGH isn’t functioning properly, it then is wasted in your body and flushed out. Guess when your HGH is secreted… when you sleep!

So what happens during sleep?

When you sleep you are in an anabolic state. This means your body is in technical terms, “breaking down.” When you are awake, your body is in a catabolic state aka “building up.” Your body needs both in order to be balanced and work efficiently throughout daily life. Did you know that sleep deprivation can accelerate the aging process? Literally, your bones and tissues and organs will age faster getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. This is due to the fact that your body remains in that catabolic state longer than it should. Being anabolic during sleep will help restore muscles and regulate hormones (including HGH!). Not only does anabolism help muscle tissue grow and maintain a healthy state, bone density also has the ability to increase through the anabolic process which is why if you’re not sleeping, your body isn’t healing.

Too many times we outwork our body. We think that because we haven’t seen results it’s because we aren’t putting enough effort and time in the gym. While that may be true for some people, overall health and fitness is not solely based on exercise output and calorie intake. For some people, it’s getting adequate amounts of sleep – roughly 8 hours per night that will help progress physical and visible results. Much of the time, people who exercise and diet struggle with the health of your body’s functions/organs/hormones and their only goal is to physically appear to look better. This can be detrimental to overall health and may put your body in a malnutrition state.

Need more reasons to get those extra hours of sleep?

– Lack of sleep leads to more caloric intake leading to more weight gain.

– Lack of sleep leads to disruption of leptin. Leptin is your satiety hormone. When that is dysregulated, your body is constantly craving food leading to overeating leading to weight gain.

– Lack of sleep can cause your brain to essentially “starve” in your frontal cortex which is responsible for decision making, social control, and right vs wrong.

Making sleep a priority can positively impact your health, your brain, your hormones, fitness success and body composition results. Being aware of the poor choices we make can help us realize and step away from the bad habit and become overall more fit and healthy.

Coach Cam

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