What About Sleep? (Lesson 2)

Welcome back! If you missed part 1, read it here.

Sleep Deprivation and Physical Activity

Research has shown that sleep deprivation can impair sprint performance and cardiovascular endurance, as well as activities requiring a high degree of coordination and mental processing. One major note here: Most sleep studies have participants skip sleep for only one night and still see significant decreases in performance, coordination, and mental processing.

Real-world sleep deprivation is far more chronic, where you lose a few hours every night and it adds up like a snowball. Chronic sleep deprivation is a huge problem in American society, especially among those who need sleep the most - growing teens.

Missing sleep for one night may or may not have adverse effects on performance, as the literature seems pretty split, however, missing sleep (not getting 8-10 hours for growing adolescents) for consecutive nights has a variety of detrimental effects.

Sleep Deprivation and Body Composition

Food Intake and Hunger

One of the effects of sleep deprivation as it pertains to body composition is that it makes you want to eat more food than you normally would, which can lead to unwanted weight-gain.

Based on rat studies, the general idea is that sleep deprivation leads to increased food intake, which may be an exaggerated response to orexin, a wakefulness-promoting hormone that positively modulates hunger. Orexin increases the longer you're awake and makes you want to eat more food. Studies in humans have noted an increased food intake of roughly 20-25% following a few hours of sleep deprivation for four days.

Metabolic Rate

In rats, chronic sleep deprivation is known to greatly increase both food intake and the metabolic rate, resulting in weight loss (albeit a ton of other side effects such as lethargy, impaired cognition, and an aged visual appearance probably make sleep deprivation a bad diet strategy).

So ultimately, it doesn’t appear that there is much evidence that poor sleep reduces the metabolic rate. More likely, being “tired” from lack of sleep tends to result in less physical activity and a likely increase of food intake could shift the balance of “calories in - versus out” towards a surplus.

Questions? Feel free to contact us or do your own checking around. Below are some links to articles you might find interesting.

Next week we'll discuss ways to enhance your sleep quality. Until then, Be Well, Keep it fun, Never stop learning.



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