Before starting at Revolution, many patients arrive not knowing the exact cause of their irritability and constant lack of energy. As they start care, nutrition is improving and daily activity levels are progressing, but many excuses could be made as to why they cannot get over the “hump” with energy levels, even though they are losing weight and feeling stronger. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and focusing on hard numbers and data, sometimes problems can be identified from the most basic areas. One simple component is often missing in the journey with exercise and weight loss: adequate sleep.
Sleep is vital for everything, but specifically let’s discuss its importance your body’s performance during resistance exercise and more strenuous activities. It provides the energy and recovery needed for full mental and motor capacities. Although sleep loss may not limit measures of maximal power output during resistance training, the body will certainly tire more quickly and be prevented from the comprehensive health and fitness benefits of resistance and aerobic exercise (VanHelder & Radomski, 1989) as compared to someone with proper rest that can keep going.
Without enough time to recover and restore the body to its needed homeostasis, it continues to lack the proper level of hormones like testosterone (which “anabolically” builds and protects the muscles from excessive damage) and insulin growth factor (which appropriately breaks down blood glucose). Your body suffers as a result and is slowly broken down itself while gaining fat and losing muscle (Patel, 2009). Cortisol is a hormone directly related to sleep which allows the body to respond to stress; it assists in regulation of blood glucose and metabolism in the body (Haff and Triplett, 2016), similarly to adiponectin which is also correlated to sleep in relationship to loss of body fat (Sawamoto et al., 2016). Have you heard of REM sleep? This is the deepest and most important cycle of your nightly sleep for recovery, often lacking in individuals with lowered hormone levels.
This goes beyond your physiology related to exercise. Appetite can also be affected as feelings of fullness, and conversely, hunger cues, can be impacted with lack of sleep (Taheri et al., 2004) to further complicate progress toward weight loss goals. Make no mistake, plenty of research is out there in support of sleep for fat loss and weight loss: One study showed that people who slept 8 hours per night as compared to those with a measly 5 hours, even with the same weight loss goals in their exercise programs, demonstrated 55% greater fat loss and 60% greater preservation of muscle (Patel, 2009). These examples are numerous in the literature, but let’s greatly simplify the subject.
When you provide your body with the proper fuel, it can run for longer and not break down. Fuel is not just what you eat, but the energy supplied with necessary recovery. The nice thing about the human body is that with a full tank it can advance and improve in response to challenges, so fuel up. If sleep is something you struggle with, feel free to reach out directly. Our team is happy put you in contact with one of our Motivation Managers to discuss strategies for improving sleep habits to aid with recovery and energy levels.
Haff, G., & Triplett, N.T. (2016). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. (4th ed). Human Kinetics: Champaign, IL.
Patel, S.R. (2009). Reduced sleep as an obesity risk factor. Obes Rev. 10 Suppl 2:61-8.
Sawamoto, R., Nozaki, T., Furukawa, T., Tanahashi, T., Morita, C., Hata, T., … Sudo, N. (2016). A change in objective sleep duration is associated with a change in the serum adiponectin level of women with overweight or obesity undergoing weight loss intervention. Obes Sci Pract. 2(2):180-8. Epub 2016 Mar 14.
Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. PLoS Med. 1(3): e62.
VanHelder T., & Radomski M.W. (1989). Sleep deprivation and the effect on exercise performance. Sports Med. 7(4):235-47.