Disclosure: This post is sponsored by our friends at Sleep Number Beds. All research was completed by the author and all opinions expressed are entirely our own.
We’ve talked a lot about sleep and the importance of sleep in this sponsored series with our friends at Sleep Number. Separately, we’ve started talking on our podcast about the importance of hormonal balance—and how our hormones being out of balance can be the cause of myriad health issues for women of all ages. (Sometimes, when we hear the word “hormones” we automatically assume it has to do with menopause or “getting older”—well, it’s not! Our hormones are often being disrupted from the day we were born, due to environmental factors, processed foods and medications. So hormone balance is something to strive for at ANY age.)
Today, we are focusing in on the correlation between a lack of sleep and its effects on our hormones. Read on.
Why are hormones and hormone balance so important? This is a direct quote from Robyn W. Jacobs MD and she states it so succinctly and perfectly:
“There are three major hormones in our bodies; Insulin, Adrenaline and Cortisol. They are considered major because if they were to disappear we would not be able to survive for more than a few hours to days. Loss of the minor hormones, on the other
hand, would not cause our immediate demise but will cause us to feel pretty lousy and may contribute to disease which could rob us of good health and longevity. Some of these hormones are thyroid, estrogen (actually a family of hormones including estradiol,
estriol and estrone), progesterone, testosterone, growth hormone, and DHEA.” SOURCE: A Unique Center For Women’s Health ~ “Hormones. What they are and why they are important.”
Hopefully that provides some clarity for you. Having your hormones in order is and always will be a top priority. So, what happens to our hormones when we regularly don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep?
Lack of sleep will LIKELY make you significantly unhealthier. It will LIKELY cause you to eat more and potentially gain weight. It will LIKELY cause you to not only eat more but make poorer choices in food when you do eat. Think: carbs, sugar and caffeine.
Note I am using the word “LIKELY” a lot. And I do so on purpose. In reading numerous articles from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and yes WebMD as well as several other medical journals, I found a wealth of information on sleep studies—and TONS of data supporting a correlation between lack of sleep and altered glucose metabolism, between lack of sleep and increased appetites, between lack of sleep and reduced energy output and between lack of sleep and reduction in physical exercise. However, what I also noticed was that all the data “suggested” this correlation and likely causation—but let’s be clear, there was not one that stated “sleep less and you will gain 10lbs in a year”.
THAT SAID…..the research is overwhelmingly supportive that lack of sleep very likely will cause you to have increased appetites, crave carbs and sugar and caffeine, have less energy for workouts, and potentially see a reduced metabolism overall. (Please note this is my paraphrasing, not a direct quote).
So, back to hormones. Lack of sleep will affect your glucose levels or glucose metabolism, but it also affects leptin and ghrelin. Do these words sound like Halloween characters to you? Understandably. Leptin is actually “a protein produced by fatty tissue and believed to regulate fat storage in the body.” According to dictionary.com. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study found that participants experiencing decreased sleep showed reduced leptin levels and elevated ghrelin levels. Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine: Short Sleep Duration is Associated With Reduced Leptin and Increased Body Mass Index BMI, December 2004.
What is Ghrelin? Ghrelin is a” peptide hormone, produced predominantly in the stomach, that stimulates the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland and increases appetite.” According to Dictionary.com.
So- lack of sleep (my summary) makes your LEPTIN – which works to regulate fat storage – work LESS and makes GHRELIN —which makes you hangry (my words) – work MORE. Hmmm. That doesn’t sound ideal does it?
We need sleep. We need sleep. We need sleep!
You can work your butt off in the gym, ladies, and eat organic all day long, but if you are not sleeping and sleeping well, ALL OF THIS can and will catch up with you. I’ve shared this repeatedly in our Facebook Live sessions and on our podcasts—the #1 thing that my own doctor and my trainer and my dietitian are telling me to focus on to address my adrenal fatigue and hormonal issues and hypothyroidism—SLEEP.
Want to take a deeper dive in to this topic? I recommend this article here on Medscape: https://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/502825. Look at the conclusion at the bottom. You get the drift?
People. Are you making sleep a priority yet? What questions do you have about sleep that we addressed here? What’s your current sleep situation? What is your current mattress situation? Quality sleep starts with a comfortable mattress, so I highly recommend Sleep Number beds—I sleep on the Sleep Number 360 i10 smart bed and I can tell you I sleep like an angel. But seriously, we spend 1/3 of our LIFE in bed, why would you not invest in the BEST mattress on the planet?? Once you get a Sleep Number bed you will NEVER LOOK BACK.
SANTA ARE YOU LISTENING?