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The one “ingredient” every weight loss programme MUST HAVE
Eish ! You can’t fit into your favourite skirt – it’s time TO GO ON DIET ! Your diet programme, involves cutting things out of your life……….
- You cut out, chocolates, cookies and desserts
- You cut out, full cream milk
- You cut out, lattes in the morning
- You cut out the soda, with lunch and wine with dinner
- You cut back on your sleep
Okay, you don’t officially CUT BACK on sleep, this is not IN, your diet plan, BUT IT HAPPENS.
Sleep deprivation while dieting
Eating “healthy” is much more time consuming, than enjoying a pizza, on the go. And, the 50 minute exercise class, at the local gym……. turns into a two and a half hour ordeal, when you factor in the time it takes to get, there and back.
Something has to give………………..
And for most of us, the thing that goes, is an hour or two of sleep.
But, on the plus side, you’re going for longer, so you’ll burn MORE calories.
Right ? Not so fast…
A weight loss journey
Researchers from the University of Chicago followed 10 overweight, but otherwise healthy volunteers, aged between 35 and 49, on their weight loss journey.
Moving more, was DISCOURAGED.
EATING LESS, was enforced.
The diet plan
Each participant received a tailor made diet plan, which ensured that their calorie intake, was sufficiently curtailed, to shift the calorie equation, in the right direction. Each person ended up consuming 90 % of the calories they needed, leaving a 10 % shortfall.
The diet programme was closely supervised – CLOSELY.
Participants checked into the lab for two 14 days stints of serious dieting, 3 months apart. They were allowed to “live” outside the lab during the day, but the nights were spent under the glare of the researchers and all meals, were provided.
The sleep addendum
There was no difference in the diet during the two stints.
What was different, was the time, spent IN BED.
One stint of dieting, saw the participants in bed, for 8.5 hours, the other stint, saw the time in bed cut back to 5.5 hours.
NOTE : To “control” for potential circadian effects, the time in bed, was cut, on both sides of the night i.e. volunteers went to bed later and got up earlier.
Burn, baby burn
The 10 % calorie deficit was made up by “burning” body calorie stores – so everyone lost weight. The average weight lost on a 14 day stint was 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds).
Yah ! Cutting calories works.
Yes, someone lost over 6 kg. WOW ! Of course, on the flip side of this, some people, lost very little weight.
Sleeping the fat off
But, our team, did more than just, look at the scale, they looked at “what had been lost” and this revealed, a big difference.
- When they were in bed for 8.5 hours – 1.4 kg was fat, the balance was muscle.
- When they cut back on time, in bed – fat loss was a miserable 0.6 kg.
If you’re not good at maths, that is a 55 % difference…
Short sleepers, primarily lost muscle, not fat.
Muscle is the good guy ! Beside moving you around, it is the biggest user of sugar – so the more muscle you have, the better your metabolic health.
Ghrelin rises when sleep deprived
Muscle wasn’t the only thing, taking strain, the hunger hormone, ghrelin, was also were up ended. Here is a plot showing, ghrelin levels across a 24 hour period.
When participants, got enough shut eye, ghrelin levels followed the typical, circadian rhythm, but when sleep was restricted, ghrelin was all over the place.
This manifested as hunger.
Something that the sleep deprived participants, reported feeling.
Not on my watch
Of course, in the experimental set up, their opportunities to “cheat” were curtailed, by the constant supervision, so it was difficult to satisfy, the ramped up hunger drive.
Difficult – not impossible ! Haha.
If you’re going on diet, add sleep
Dieting is always about deprivation, but if you’re dieting, the one deprivation you cannot afford to include, is sleep.
The amount of sleep DOES make a difference.
Because, fat slips out, while you sleep !
NB. Officially, as an adult you need somewhere between 6 – 8 hours a night, err on the side of 8 hours not 6.
When street noise is AN EVENT, rather than a continuous hum, it is significantly more likely to scare your sleeping brain and this has metabolic consequences
Inside light is NOT the same as outside light. If you’re wired to be diurnal and you LIVE INSIDE, you do whatever, whenever………… and pay a metabolic price
You’re a regular Jo, most nights, you climb into bed and ……………you’re off to dreamland. Sleep issues don’t explain your weight problems. Not so fast…….