Why We Sleep By Matthew Walker is an incredible read, filled with insightful, practical and scary information that will force you to take a closer look at the quality of sleep you are or ARE NOT getting.  I can tell you that since I read his book about 6 months ago, I have taken steps to increase both by quality and quantity of sleep.  I have never felt better!  It’s not perfect all the time, however,  I’m feeling the benefits.

The book has all the research references you need to fact check everything you question.  Here are just a few highlights that ties into your ability to eat well or NOT.

Sleep is the root cause that drives a catalyst to either enhance or deregulate other systems in the body.  

Sleep is not like the bank. You can’t accumulate debt and hope to pay it off after. That’s why weekend binge sleeping doesn’t seem to work. 

Sleep is the foundation where the pillars of movement and nutrition stem from.

The single best arsenal to eat well is to sleep well. 

Sleep determines what you eat, how much, when you eat and how your body processes the fuel. 

When you are getting less then 6hr’s of QUALITY sleep, this signals a metabolic inefficiency where your body goes after glucose rather then fat for fuel. 

One study looked at efficiency dieting when under slept. 6hr or less. 70% of weight you will lose will come from muscle mass.  The body will hold on to its fat when under slept due to the high cortisol and a decrease in growth hormone. 

Human beings are the only species that purposefully deprive themselves from sleep. There are only two other circumstances where an animal will reduce their sleep, killer wales migrating, and animals who are starving. 

The appetite regulation hormone leptin tells your brain you are full and to stop eating. Ghrelin is a hunger signal and tells you to eat more.  With only 5-6 hrs of sleep, the leptin signal goes down and the ghrelin is ramped up so you eat more. This leads to an increase in caloric intake at about an extra 300 cal per day. That’s about 10lbs per year. 

Your profile of food changes when you are sleep deprived. You eat more heavy hitting carbs and stay away from dense protein and leafy greens. 

With sleep deprivation, the centers in the brain that keep desires in check such as the prefrontal cortex was taken off line. This is the part of the brain that will tell you to put away that gallon of ice cream, or say no to desert.  Fatigue led to the more primitive centers in the brain, such as the the amygdla, to become more active, so the desire to want poor food choices increases.  Basically you lose the power to better control your cravings.   

 

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