Getting enough sleep not only gets your hormones out of whack but also affects part of the brain that controls hunger for those foods that are easily stored as fat.
As a recent article in the Journal of Nature Communications found a link between sleep loss and obesity showing how sleep affects metabolism causing more fat storage.
Hormones that regulate metabolism
The hormones that regulate metabolism get out of whack if we don’t get enough sleep at night. There are several hormones that regulate whether we burn or store fat. When these get out of sync our brain causes us to want to eat those foods that store fat.
Let’s take a look at the hormones and what each one does:
Leptin is made by adipose tissue (fat cells) and are adipokines (cell signaling proteins). Leptin is also called the satiety hormone because it lets us know we are satisfied. Leptin also regulates energy balance. You want plenty of Leptin circulating in your blood. Sleep deprivation can lower the amount. So if you are not sleeping well, that amount of Leptin is lowered causing you to feel you are not satisfied.
Ghrelin opposes Leptin. Ghrelin is called the hunger hormone because it lets us know we are hungry. Ghrelin is also called lenomorelin (a peptide hormone) and is made in our gastrointestinal tract. It functions as a neuropeptide in the Central Nervous System. Ghrelin not only regulates appetite but also plays a part in regulating the rate at which energy is used. When you don’t get enough sleep this hormone increases and you feel hungry.
Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose into cells. It is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is a carrier hormone as it promotes the absorption of glucose into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells. High levels of insulin circulating in the blood cause more fat to be stored. It was found that not sleeping well often caused insulin resistance to be higher. This contributes to glucose intolerance increasing appetite as leptin and ghrelin were affected.
Glucagon works the opposite of insulin. It works to raise the concentration of glucose. High levels of glucagon in blood is what you need to release glucose from cells to be metabolized. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to lowered levels of glucagon along with higher levels of insulin.
Growth hormone is made in Stage IV sleep and is called “Fountain of Youth Hormone” it improves fat metabolism. Light sleepers may not get to this stage of sleep very often. This may be one reason why as you age, you have less Human Growth Hormone. Growth hormone is a stress hormone that causes the release of glucose and fatty acids.
Cortisol is released when the body is under stress. This hormone causes fat storage when constantly released when stress is chronic. Cortisol counteracts insulin, contributes to hyperglycemia and inhibits the peripheral use of glucose (insulin resistance). When you are not getting the right amount of sleep, you are stressed and therefore release more cortisol.
Adiponectin is an anti-inflammatory hormone that can help to decrease inflammation thereby helping to decrease insulin resistance. Reduced sleep lowers the release of Adiponectin.
Balancing metabolism hormones
As we get older sometimes we have trouble sleeping. If this is a problem you have you are not alone, thousands upon thousands of people struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Helping folks sleep well is a multi-million dollar industry.
If you are a woman over 50 and not sleeping well I would love to help you by giving you the information and tools to help you sleep better as this is one of the keys to getting a keeping a flat abdomen.
By sleeping well, you can begin to eat less and less fat is stored in the place we all know it goes to first – our stomach area. Your hormones come more into balance and you will have an easier time losing that extra fat around your middle.
You can also try some weight loss supplements that are natural and can help your metabolism and suppress your appetite. Sometimes a little help is needed to get started on a better road.
Check out my post Vastly increase your energy in 7 days for a great way to jump-start that metabolism.
Tips for a good nights sleep
- Do you know about the hormone Melatonin? It is a hormone made by our bodies to help us sleep and is defined as:
Note the phrase “in response to darkness”
This is an important hormone for sleep. If you have trouble sleeping you may not be secreting enough of this hormone. To increase your bodies secretion of melatonin make sure you have enough darkness when you try to sleep. Turn off or cover sources of light in your sleep area. You can also take a melatonin supplement.
- Exercise regularly. This is so important not just for sleeping well at night but also for your health in general, helping you feel good and increase your metabolism and energy. Find something you like to do to get that much-needed exercise. You will be much more likely to stick with it. Exercising is one of the best ways to sleep better at night. Try exercise ball ab workouts for women.
- No heavy meals before bedtime. Heavy meals close to bedtime disturbs sleep in a number of ways. For instance, if you are prone to acid reflux eating a heavy meal before bedtime will almost guarantee you will get it. If you must eat a snack before bedtime then a high protein snack is best, a small one.
- Give yourself time to wind down. Finish all activities including exercising and bookkeeping, talking on the phone, etc. before trying to sleep. Make sure you finish planning the next day also. Trying to plan what you are doing the next day at the same time you are trying to sleep will delay your falling asleep.
- Make your room cooler. Studies have shown that sleep is easier with room temperatures that range from 60 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body actually is at its lowest temperature after about 4 hours of sleep. This is one reason lowering the temperature of your room air can help you sleep as it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
- Limit caffeine consumption in the hours before you plan to sleep. I don’t have any caffeine after 3:00 pm. Have some decaf tea or coffee instead.
- Taking a warm bath or shower can help you relax before trying to sleep. Then unwind with some delicious chamomile tea! I also like warm milk (it has tryptophan a precursor to melatonin). By the way, so does turkey!
- Set your internal clock by getting up and going to sleep at the same time each day.
I hope I have helped you learn about how sleep affects metabolism. If you have any tips for sleeping better or any comments or questions on this please leave me a comment in the comment section below. I want to hear from you.