There's the school of folks who say forget about fat or protein or type of exercise. It's much simpler than that—a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and if you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight. Yeah, that's true, except when it's not. Here's an interesting little wrench in the works. In a recent study, scientists took two groups of people and put them both on reduced calorie diets. But then they told one group to sleep for 7-8 hours a night and the other group to sleep for five hours a night. Both groups lost weight. In fact, both groups lost the same amount of weight. But here's what's interesting—the sleep-deprived group lost a much greater proportion of lean muscle mass. Only 48% of the pounds they lost were fat pounds. For the group that slept enough, 80% of the pounds were fat pounds. So yeah, you'll lose weight either way if you're cutting calories, but if you sleep enough, you'll lose the fat you want to lose, not the muscle you don't.
Inadequate sleeps has profound effects on metabolic regulation, shows new research. In a study at the Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, subjects spent two nights in a sleep lab, on the first night sleeping for eight hours, and on the second night, sleeping for only four hours. After each night of sleep, their insulin sensitivity was tested, with dramatic results: One night of inadequate sleep, and the subjects showed significant insulin resistance. FYI, insulin resistance is a big deal. It's a component of type 2 diabetes. A number of studies have previously shown that long term sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance, but this study marks the first time just one night of poor sleep has been shown to mess up your metabolism in this way. Lesson: Get your winks — every night counts!
I am cranky today. I got an hour more sleep than I usually do, and somehow, I'm exhausted. I struggled to stay awake in a meeting at work today, and while work was actually fairly uneventful, I am supremely irritable. Usually, going to the gym helps me work that out. Today, the gym did not help me work that out.
A couple of weeks ago researchers at UC Berkeley gave us the great news that naps make us smarter. Today, researchers at Wake Forest have slightly less cheery news about sleep: Get too little — less than five hours a night — and your body will put up fat stores near your vital organs, which is really bad for you (Too much sleep is bad too, but the study emphasizes that's much less of a problem). "We put a lot of stock in diet," says the study's lead author, "but...we may need to start looking at other behaviors...that could be contributing to the obesity epidemic." Weirdly, this too-little-sleep-causes-visceral-fat effect is only seen in those under 40. Those sleep deprived and over 40 apparently only suffer from grouchiness.
I am a life-long night owl. But my life as a combination office-manger/opera singer/voice teacher makes it very difficult to go to the gym after work. Therefore I devised a plan to go to the gym EARLY in the morning so that I can get to work on time and still have time to schedule voice lessons, attend rehearsals, practice and do other necessary things to maintain my life.
As my posts might show, I have not been getting to bed before 1am lately. I'm so freaking tired, but I really want to make it to the pool tonight. I MUST. That's all. I will report back (hopefully before midnight).
PM Update: MADE IT! 40 min swim. Yay!
I didn't fall asleep til 3am last night--just insomnia (probably from eating too much at my friend's seder). I'm soooo tired, and TRYING TRYING TRYING to keep my motivation up to go to a 1.5 hr ashtanga class tonight at 7:30 tonight. That's really late, people. But I will persevere.More...