A recent study published in Science Advances is showing the intense impact sleep or, more specifically, lack of sleep has on our metabolism.
What's worse, the study shows that this impact isn't necessarily the result of continuous bad sleep — even one sleepless night results in a slowed metabolism.
TL;DR When we get poor or too little sleep, our body lacks the time it needs to metabolize properly, which causes fat storage and muscle degradation at a cellular level — even after just one night.
In this day and age, it's not rare to hear a friend complain of only getting four or five hours of sleep. Plus, how many people do you know who work night shifts or stay up late to finish work or a school assignment?
Well, it turns out that pulling all-nighters or working night shifts is doing more than just making you cranky. On top of caffeine cravings, lack of sleep can have serious health effects like heart disease.
But as this study also highlights, the time when you are asleep is not simply for resting and recuperating from the day before, it is also a "metabolic period."
Your metabolism, as most people know, works to convert your food into energy as well as the building blocks of the human body, like protein, that our body can then use to build muscle.
School: I want to sleep!!— zest⚡ (@princecaingles) January 7, 2019
House:. I can't sleep!!
Another metabolic process that your body performs while you are sleeping is the elimination of metabolic waste. These processes ensure that our body is functioning as it should.
When we have a poor night's sleep or don't sleep enough, we rob our body of its opportunity to complete these metabolic processes properly.
So, people who are sleep deprived, because they work night shifts or suffer from insomnia, run a much higher risk of developing metabolic disorders like obesity, hypertension, or even type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep reportedly causes an increase in hormones that stimulate appetite which then encourages the overconsumption of food and disrupts the breakdown of sugars in the body.
The reason why even one night of bad sleep can cause weight gain is that our metabolism functions on a cellular level. Genes that store fat are hyperactive when the body lacks sleep.
Conversely, muscles see a degradation of structural proteins when there is a deficit of rest. Thus, poor sleep is giving fat-storing genes more energy while simultaneously breaking down muscle proteins.
So much for "sleep when you're dead," if you're looking to make muscle gains this year. Instead, make sure you're sleeping a lengthy and regular amount every night and not only will you feel better, but your body will also be thanking you — at the cellular level.