What’s Keeping You Up?

Hi guys, are you the type that shows up to the gym and brags that you haven’t slept enough… Or if not brag, then at least mention it to use as a reason if the WOD doesn’t go so great?  Well I know I tell myself these things sometimes.  So, my mission is to get more sleep!  I am hoping that I’ll be better able to control food cravings and be less irritable with my family.  I don’t know about you all, but when I’m tired I overeat, get irritable, and “snap” at my family.  Not to mention, get less done during the day.  So, how much are you sleeping?  Is it affecting you, your metabolism, or your productivity?

This is how WebMD puts it: “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleepand the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.

On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, he says. “If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pounds, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”  Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones, explains Breus.  The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”  More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.  “You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived,” Breus says.

Moreover,  “The less you sleep, the sooner you die,” Dr. Boero from the Marshfield clinic said.  He goes on to say, “When you don’t get enough sleep you are more easily distracted, and it’s harder to concentrate on a task,  You’re more irritable and less flexible.”  I find this part most interesting and hopeful for me, “Most of the health problems caused by limited sleep can be improved simply by getting enough sleep, he said.  Dr. Boero goes on to explain that lack of sleep contributes to all kind of seemingly unrelated health problems.  We must know that  “Sleep is a fascinating field. Every single organ in the body is affected by sleep and can be improved by sleep.”

This is one area in my life that I am not disciplined.  So, I plan on getting more sleep!  By upping my Leptin levels, I think I’ll be healthier, less grumpy with my family, and more energetic/productive.  Does anyone else want to be my accountability partner?

Additionally, I just learned this week from The Paleo Mom, that my daughter’s growing pains in her legs may be caused by a Magnesium deficiency.  So I cannot wait to try yet another brownie recipe.  This one with Spinach in it to help my little girl!

Photo Courtesy of ThePaleoMom.com