Why is sleep important?

Without adequate sleep, we miss out on the body's natural hormonal re-balancing. This can lead to:

Increased appetite for high-calorie foods

When sleep deprived our bodies produce more cortisol (a stress hormone), which increases appetite. In addition, the primary hormone responsible for sending hunger signals, ghrelin, is stimulated by too little sleep making things worse. And as if that weren't bad enough, the hormone that makes you feel full and satiated, leptin, is depressed.

Your body wants to produce serotonin when you’re stressed, and the easiest way to do that is by eating high-fat and high-carb foods.

Slowed metabolism, stalling weight loss

Your metabolism, or basal metabolic rate, slows as your body is under stress and goes into survival mode from elevated cortisol levels, trying to conserve energy and stalling weight loss.

Decrease in growth hormone release

Growth hormone is awesome.  We want our bodies to produce as much as it can naturally.  Growth hormone release is strongly related to anti-aging, fat-burning, recovering from exercise, and helping build lean muscle. However, growth hormone is released at night.  Not sleeping 8-9 hours a night?  Chances are you're missing out on some growth hormone opportunities!

Blunted insulin sensitivity

Remember that we want a small amount of insulin to do a big job.  The more sensitive we are to insulin the better we process carbohydrates and burn fat. Just one night of poor sleep can temporarily impair your insulin sensitivity making your body process carbs like that of a Type 2 diabetic!

Impaired cognitive function

Missing out on sleep:

  • Slows reaction time
  • Decreases ability to focus
  • Decreases alertness and attention span
  • Increases forgetfulness and ability to retain information (sleep is necessary for memory consolidation)
  • May particularly affect cognitive systems that rely on emotional data reducing mood stability