Fit Tip Daily

January 29, 2008

Is Your Lack Of Sleep Making You Fat?


      It’s winter time and the sun goes down early.  People tend to curl up on the couch instead of doing bicep curls in the gym.  However, just because the sun is going to bed, doesn’t mean that Americans are.  Even with the recent writer’s strike… people still tend to find some way to stay up late.  What does lack of sleep do to your weight and waist line?  Is staying up late to watch your favorite re -run really worth your time; or is it just making you fat????

What Happens When YOU Fall Asleep:  Important hormones are released when you sleep.  Among them is a VERY important one called “human growth hormone.”  This is the one that all of the athletes and celebrities are taking to stay gorgeous and fit!  It is said that growth hormone is released in the highest quantities between the hours of 12 – 2.  If you aren’t sleeping at this time then you have REALLY missed out on your “beauty sleep.” 

     Other very important hormones are released in your sleep..Leptin and Ghrelin.  “Leptin, which is released by fat cells, signals the brain to stop eating. Ghrelin, which is made in the stomach, is a signal to keep eating. The two influence whether you go for a second helping or push yourself away from the table (credit).” 

“Studies have shown that leptin levels are lower and ghrelin levels are higher in people who sleep fewer hours,”

(That means that you seriously decrease your internal off switch….. your body doesn’t know when to stop eating!!! )

Research Has shown that lack of sleep can affect your childeren as well…..


“They were surprised to discover that it wasn’t how much TV a child watched, but how much sleep the child got, that best predicted whether he or she was overweight,” says Dinges. “The less children slept, the heavier they were.”


“Researchers at Columbia University in New York City found that people who slept six hours a night were 23 percent more likely to be obese than people who slept between seven and nine hours. Those who slept five hours were 50 percent more likelywhile those who slept four hours or less were 73 percent more likely–to be obese (credit).”

Increased Blood Sugar Levels Have Been Related To Lack Of Sleep

     If you though America was in trouble before… they have linked High Blood sugar levels to people who suffer from lack of sleep. 


“When the University of Chicago’s Eve Van Cauter and her colleagues limited 11 healthy men in their 20s to four hours of sleep for six straight nights, “it brought them to a nearly prediabetic state.”

Their bodies were 40 percent less able to clear glucose from their blood and 30 percent slower in releasing insulin than when they were allowed to sleep for twelve hours. (3) In fact, four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights gave the young men the insulin sensitivity of 70- or 80-year-olds (credit).”

  Sometimes lack of sleep in unavoidable.  So what do you do if you just can’t relax enough at night to go to bed early? 

“Sleep problems generally are the result of a calcium/magnesium and/or a zinc/copper imbalance. These two ratios, of course, also determine your basal body metabolic rate (translate: how much fat you’ll burn every day.) If you get these two ratios into a healthy balance, you’ll have better ZZZZZs and lose Lbs. (as in pounds!)

Not Enough Magnesium

People with a magnesium deficiency suffer from “Type II insomnia.” They fall asleep easily but only experience a relatively short period of deep, restful sleep, that delicious time when your body is able to rebuild muscles, skin and bones. Most of the night they are trapped in light, useless sleep. They toss and they turn. Then, they wake up exhausted.

Ironically, people with too little magnesium in relation to calcium develop this trouble because they don’t have enough energy to sleep fitfully. Restful sleep requires a certain amount of energy to reach the stage of rejuvenating rest, which is characterized by rapid eye movement (REM). When you can’t maintain REM sleep for a prolonged period, fatigue eventually becomes chronic during your waking hours. (Your energy is zapped because you have too much calcium in relation to magnesium.)

People under stress are prone to this kind of insomnia because stress sops up all the magnesium it can find, creating a shortage.

Not Enough Calcium

Insomnia (the Type I kind) has been associated with calcium for centuries. Did your Momma serve you a warm glass of milk and cookies before bedtime?

People who don’t have enough calcium have two sleep-related problems. First, they have great difficulty falling asleep. In most cases this occurs because low tissue calcium produces irritability. They’re just too upset to be able to fall asleep.

Second, people with low calcium levels are plagued with muscle cramps at night. These painful cramps occur even without any real exertion during the day. A calcium to magnesium imbalance causes these muscles to remain in a constant state of contraction. Ouch!

Warm milk (without the cookies, of course) before bedtime can help people lacking calcium fall asleep faster. But more dietary changes are needed to deal with the muscle cramps.

Too much calcium:

Frequent urination at night is one symptom of too much calcium. When excess calcium settles in the muscles surrounding the bladder, it reduces the bladder’s holding capacity. Frequency and urgency are increased. It’s hard to have a good night’s sleep when you constantly have to get up and go.

Too much copper:

High copper levels affect the neurological system. They also stimulate the right side or creative hemisphere of the brain. (Artists typically have higher copper levels than electrical engineers.) Unfortunately, too much copper causes nightmares. Don’t eat chocolate, peanut butter or grapes before bedtime if you want to have sweet dreams.

So what’s weight loss have to do with this?

All four minerals are also crucial to the weight loss process. Calcium and copper can sedate or overstimulate the adrenal and thyroid glands, basically snuffing out your weight loss efforts with an ineffective metabolic rate. Fix the cal/mag and zinc/copper ratios and you can burn off those pounds, even while you sleep (credit).”

       If you’re worried about your overall health, weight, and mental well being, then it’s time you turned off the tv (use the DVR if you must) and cuddle up in bed with a book.  This will help to calm you down so you can get some restful sleep.  Two extra hours of tv a night are not worth the negative results you will have in the morning.  Keep yourself on a schedule.  Your body will thank you in the summer! 

Adria Ali



  1. That was so informative! You have the best fitness site!

    Comment by Bianca Lopez — January 30, 2008 @ 2:49 am

  2. I had to read this much valuable and useful information. Thank you.

    Comment by Daddy cook — February 3, 2008 @ 9:03 am

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