get to bed!

Sleep prevents you from trudging through life like a mindless drone; but did you know a good night’s sleep is also key for maintaining the proper weight? There’s a very significant relationship between sleep and obesity.

Researchers at the University of Chicago restricted a group of healthy men and women to four hours of sleep a night. After six days the subjects’ metabolisms and hormone levels were so out of whack that their bodies had a hard time processing glucose in the blood – a problem common in overweight diabetics (this is seen in higher upper back and love handle body fat scores for the general population as well). In a follow-up study, the researchers examined "normal " sleepers as well as a second group of people who slept fewer than six hours a night. The sleep deprived group needed to produce 30 percent more insulin to process their food, a trait that predisposes people to weight gain and increases the risk of obesity over time. (along with this, hyperinsulinemia is a MAJOR player in peoples self esteem, mental acuity and just plain old day to day energy - VERY impt to control this!!!)

Study after study has shown that sleep deprivation can disrupt your metabolism, wreaking havoc on the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight. Why? Fat cells produce a hormone called leptin, which helps the body keep track of how much potential energy (i.e., fat) it has stored. Leptin production peaks when you’re asleep, and that spike can be interrupted if you deprive yourself of sleep. This leaves your body with an unreliable measurement of how much energy it has in reserve and ultimately causes it to end up storing calories rather than burning them.

Another drawback from not sleeping enough? It’s easy to confuse feelings of fatigue with feelings of hunger, so you end up eating when you’re really just tired. Shoot for the ideal of eight hours a night. Depending on you’re body, you may ultimately need even more; preferably in a VERY dark room out of sight of the alarm clock.

My emperical data agrees as well with what alternative medicine practitioners have seen before, that sleeping more hours BEFORE midnight accounts for more recovery sleep than hours after - that is - a general concensus from clients I ask about this would be that if they sleep from midnight till 8 am, they are not as well recovered or show as much insulin control as those who sleep from 9 pm till 5 am...both 8 hours but much different in recovery and energy balance.

If you're wired and tired at night - it could be from working out too late in day, consuming caffeine too late in day, eating too many grains and sugars at supper or late snack or just plain anxiety about something...the first few parts can be taken care of..with respect to anxiety...WRITE IT DOWN...journalling has worked well for a lot of folks to get things out of could be this:
- nice day, seemed long, gotta get those charts ready for boss tomorrow early AM
- looking forward to OPT workout, will tackle that when i get to it
- i am very grateful for my health and surroundings; i decide upon all that comes my way

This works, believe me, it may turn into a nightime ritual of acceptance and gratitude...a good step in the right direction off topic...but charting how you feel each day is good as you'll see balance in how you perform physically and spiritually each day as it relates to sleep/recovery

Play with foods later in PM as well to see how you sleep and track it...some have found that higher amounts of fats and protein later are fine for sleep....i recommend full fat organic dairy and berries to those who can handle dairy fine as later snacks and this seems to help a lot - its the milk protein and low sugars creating a nice slow digestion as well as some serotonin like effects that does the trick...for others, play with things EXCEPT grains and see how you do...sidenote...on personal observation - a large DQ blizzard does not work for that milk protein thing - it only causes waking at 2 am wondering if you're having a heart attack.


Steve Caddy said...

Good advice all round James. I've been following your blog from down here in Melbourne Australia for a little while now.

I know you have a little girl - we had a new addition to our family this year too. Any Crossfittin' advice for sleep deprived Dads? ;)

Geoff Aucoin said...

Ahh, the good ole' DQ heart attack... How I miss the old days.

Good post!!!

Sifton said...

This is a great topic, as I travel all around I notice how my sleep changes.
For example last night, I arrived in Grand Prarie (what a wonderful place in the winter) and I was not able to sleep until 1:30 am. (Flights late and bad road conditions) I slept for 8 hours (Which is my optimal amount at home, ask James and he can tell you I more often than not get good sleeps at home and questionable on the road). On waking I do not feel rested at all. Typically on the road I am up numerous times in the night, not last night though. So I have to ask what has changed? The only real thing is the local, maybe EMF (brings us to another topic) The bed is comfortable, the room quiet. Therefore I must come to some conclusion that the time I went to bed has an effect... SO for me the utmost in importance is getting to sleep as quickly as I can to be close to the time zone I left in (If traveling West)or going to bed at "regular" time if traveling East. People say that heading West is easier on the system, I feel that is only because they are more able to stay awake longer (excited to be there etc,etc). If one is able to sleep sooner, I feel that traveling east and sleeping at A regular time is "better" for you physiologically.
Does Diet play into the whole situation? You bet it does. Arriving into Honolulu and going out for ice cream and pop is not the best way to start out a vacation in Hawaii.
Food for thought for traveling.

OPT said...

Steve, read "healthy sleep habits, happy child" by will help you a little with some situations that arise...ensuring your child has attunement, security, and a pattern of sleep (that CAN be done, most think it cannot) that resembles normalcy
for yourself, i DO KNOW that what i preach about insulin control is now for you of UTMOST messing this up (unless you are away from the child for a few days and can afford to laze around) creates poor decision making at times when you have to show the child that the atmosphere is in full control..
i have found that with one, in 4 weeks 2 children, it will be imperative that i stay tight to the balance of my mood, energy and food my friends know (i have 3 i think right now) my life is pretty simple...but this is reflected in my childs ability to adapt so far and we will see it with the 2nd as well..sticking to good blood sugar balance has been the #1 thing i have succeeded with...this has led to good performance and a balanced life...i hope you and your family keep well...luck comes to those who work hard!

Geoff Aucoin said...

That book, let's just call it 'The Bible' from now on. It's a good read.

Steve Caddy said...

Thanks James, I'll check it out. We're pretty solid on routine, but teething... you know the deal.

Another one for you? Good luck with the birth and subsequent fun.