Its been a long time.... A really long time! I kept thinking I would write a really grand post re-entering the blog sphere but it never seemed to happen, so I will just pick up blogging where I left off. I have reasons for not blogging at all in 2010, but I'll save that for another post. I have been reading your blogs, and have missed posting, so I am hoping this is the start of a regular posting routine again.
This post I wanted to talk about sleep and its relation to body weight (an important topic for us runners!).
I am historically a yo-yo dieter (+/- 10 lbs). I lose weight, then I gain weight. I was always able to lose the excess weight easily, until the last year or so I have noticed it to be much more of a challenge forcing me to take a closer look at exactly what I was putting into my body.
Careful calorie counting, healthy eating, lots of cross training later, I felt frustrated that the weight wasn't budging. At first I blamed hitting my mid-thirties. I was always hungry. I would eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. I would even blend spinach into shake and my work colleagues thought I was nuts!
Even with the healthy, six small meals per day, I would have these INSANE nighttime cravings. Red wine, cheese, crackers= yum. Nacho chips + guacamole + wine = double yum. Cookies + wine =.... you get the idea.
I thought, this is what getting older meant - loss of muscle, increase of body fat....increase in cravings...
But then I thought of all the fabulously fit people I know, some who are decades older than me, and I realized that blaming my weight gain on aging was a cop-out. What are they doing differently?
In an attempt to tune into reasons for my weight gain/insane appetite a little closer, I started evaluate my health checklist a little more closely and realized, I was depriving myself of a basic physiological need:
I have always been a short-sleeper. In fact, it wasn't atypical for me to get 5-6 hours. With further research, I discovered that sleep deprivation (sleeping less than 7 hours a night) can cause:
- An increase in the hormone Ghrelin which is released to increase appetite. This explains my late night snacking habits!
- A decrease in the hormone Leptin, which basically tells you to control the amount of food you shove in your mouth at any given time.
Also not sleeping can (source)
• disrupt your metabolism of carbs, causing high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.
•reduces levels of growth hormone - a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle.
• increase your risk of diabetes
•can increase blood pressure
•can increase the risk of heart disease
So I have been trying to sleep better since mid-December, and I have noticed a huge difference in my energy level, and control of my appetite. I've lost a bit of weight in the process too (although its a work in progress!). My workouts have also been better since I have been sleeping more.
So I have moved sleep to the top of my priority list, even above working out!
Do you sleep enough? Do you notice a change in your appetite/weight/energy with more or less sleep?
Thanks for reading!