Your body knows when you haven’t slept enough, and it’s not happy about it.Are you participating in our wonderful #40Winks challenge?
Prioritizing sleep is one of the biggest and best epigenetic changes you can make for your health. Getting a full night of sleep is one of the most under-appreciated factors contributing to healthy weight maintenance. Master your sleep and you’ll find it easier to balance your hormones, make good food choices, and, ultimately, lengthen your healthspan.
Sleep is essential to slow down aging because that’s when the growth hormone does its repair work in the body. All hormones are released in a circadian rhythm, and sleep-wake cycles set your rhythm so that you can make melatonin and growth hormone at night. Melatonin controls more than five hundred genes in the body, including the genes involved in the immune system, so managing your melatonin is a sound investment. Optimal sleep will activate growth hormone so that you are less likely to gain belly fat and better able to repair your muscles at night (see my post on #growthhormone).
In short, chronic sleep deprivation results in increasing your more wear-and-tear hormones (e.g., cortisol) and fewer growth- and repair hormones (e.g., growth hormone). When you short your sleep, levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, rise, and levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes feelings of fullness, go down. That’s just setting yourself up to rely on willpower, which won’t work (see my post on #ghrelin.)
In sum, sleep deprivation can seriously throw off your hormones, your behavior patterns, and your body’s response to food, thus sabotaging your biochemistry in several different ways..