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Simran Kataria Sep 01 2022

How Sleep Plays a Role in Your Metabolism

The year is 2022 and this is the live-fast-die-young generation. The “sleep when you’re dead- it’s time to HUSTLE” generation. The rise-and-grind (cause if you don’t take over the world, in some small but significant capacity, by the time you’re 25… hell might just break loose) generation.

In a state where you’re constantly competing with the world and made to feel as if you’re running out of time… is it possible to remain in a restful frame of mind? To get a peaceful night’s serene sleep? It is absolutely essential. And if we’re unable to hit the hay for 8 hours of the day, there are definite repercussions; for the body, the mind and believe it or not- the metabolism. Let’s dive into it.

What is metabolism? By definition, metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism. Your metabolism is the chemical engine that keeps you alive. We often get to hear how people talk about having a slow or fast metabolism. The way it works is, those with slow metabolism tend to have more leftover calories, which get stored as fat. On the other hand, those with fast metabolism burn more calories and are less likely to accumulate a lot of fat. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body needs. It is the reason some people can eat a lot without gaining weight, while others seem to need less to accumulate fat.

A number of factors affect the metabolic rate including age, muscle mass, body size, physical activity, hormonal disorders etc. There are several ways one can help speed up their metabolic rate.

These can be:
· Body movement through exercise and staying active
·Doing high-intensity workouts like HIIT which includes quick and very intense bouts of activity, such as sprints or fast push-ups
·Strength training that promotes the growth of muscle mass
·Having sufficient protein intake and avoiding starvation as it has a negative impact on your metabolism
·Staying sufficiently hydrated and last but not the least,
·Getting regular restful sleep.

Let’s talk about the role of sleep in the metabolism game.

Sleep alters hormones that regulate hunger and fullness

 Ever wondered how nutrition affects sleep and vice-versa? Hormones that regulate appetite and control calorie consumption are affected by sleep. There is a strong body of research showing that not getting enough sleep increases the production of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and makes us inclined to consume more calories. Research also shows that lack of sufficient sleep reduces levels of leptin, a hormone that acts as an appetite suppressant and promotes feelings of fullness. Leptin sends an important message to the brain that we have consumed sufficient calories to meet our energy needs for the time being.

Lack of sleep changes the way our bodies metabolise fat and slows fat burning.

Recent research into sleep and metabolism has shown that lack of sleep may diminish the body’s ability to convert fat to energy. It’s not only the amount of sleep we get, but also the quality of that sleep, that affects how well our bodies burn fat. Lower sleep quality is associated with reduction in the rate at which the body burns fat.

There have been research studies questioning, “Does sleeping late affect your health?” Though results of these studies remain inconclusive still, it has been duly agreed upon that regardless of whether you’re sleeping early or late, it is detrimental that you experience what is called ‘deep sleep’. Deep sleep has many functions, including replenishing energy, helping store memories, and balancing hormones. The sleep cycle begins with light sleep, before leading to deep sleep and REM sleep. Many factors can impair a person’s sleep quality, including an inappropriate sleep environment, eating or exercising too close to bedtime, and sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and insomnia. There may be some ways to promote deeper sleep, such as making certain dietary changes and listening to pink noise while falling asleep. Getting more deep sleep may sometimes be as simple as setting aside more time to sleep each night.

Does sleep affect sugar levels?

Poor sleep and circadian misalignment affect glucose and insulin. Glucose, aka blood sugar, is the body’s primary source of energy, broken down from foods we consume. Insulin is a hormone that works as a glucose facilitator and regulator: it works to transfer glucose from blood to cells where it is consumed as fuel, and it acts as a messenger to avoid excess glucose in the bloodstream. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and keeping insulin working optimally are critical for metabolic health, and to avoid metabolic conditions such as diabetes. There is a large and growing body of evidence that poor sleep affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and use insulin effectively.

Curtailed sleep on a regular basis has become a trend in the fast-paced lives of many. Be it for work, travel or a night of partying with tasks piled up the next day; most of us don’t take into consideration the short and long-term effects of voluntary sleep deprivation on account of other tasks that need to be fulfilled. The disturbance in our sleep rhythm or circadian misalignment has an alarming and direct impact on how our body metabolises food and other bodily functions that are associated with it. An eight-hour well-deserved sleep on the daily, not only would make you more energised and well-equipped for routine activities but also serve you in the longer run by preventing health issues and positively impacting longevity.

SOURCES: https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-is-Metabolism.aspx https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/get-a-fast-metabolism https://thesleepdoctor.com/physical-health/sleep-and-weight-loss/ https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(13)70018-4/fulltext

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