Monday, November 10, 2014

Using 5 Hour Energy is a mistake

There is a wealth of information connecting sleep deprivation to weight gain.

As this article clearly points out, sleep deprivation affects the brain in many adverse ways. There are studies that point to a relationship between leptin, ghrelin and lack of sleep. Leptin tells the body that you're no longer hungry and ghrelin tells the body that you ARE hungry.

When you don't get enough sleep you produce more ghrelin than normal and less leptin. You know what happens next. You overeat. Then, as the article points out, sleep deprivation increases the body's level of stress; cortisol levels rise with increased stress and this in turn increases your blood sugar. 

sleeping woman and men in bed
Sleep deprivation also causes impaired judgment which can lead to a greater risk of accidental injury.

To learn more about the relationship between leptin and ghrelin as well as tips for getting enough sleep please read the following article:

We live in a fast paced society where people have lost appreciation for the fact that sleep is necessary for good health. We need to take the matter more seriously.

I would love to see an article that explores the opposite and quite reliably reproducible phenomenon: that calorie restriction reduces the requirement for sleep.

Any study involving brain imaging should be ignored. It's all smoke and mirrors and just-so stories...

Sounds like lack of sleep leads to an over-reliance on our automatic/fast/intuitive/emotional/unconscious System 1 of our brains (limbic system in particular), and a disregard for the effortful/slow/deliberate/logical/conscious System 2 (frontal cortex in particular).

As mentioned in a few other comments, this certainly has implications for medical education/training. Having endured plenty of 30+ hour shifts in medical school and residency, this is not particularly surprising news. The link to adenosine is interesting, and makes sense (plenty of coffee during those long shifts!).

The last line about a "reset" of our bodies/brains is spot-on!

After being up till 2 a.m (a 5 Hour Energy mistake .) , I guess I can expect a showdown with ice cream cravings about 3 this afternoon. This article provided a lot of great info re. how the frontal cortex acts when it's sleep deprived, especially re. rational decision making. But weight loss, especially dealing with food cravings, especially sugar cravings, is such a complex, emotional issue! Brain research helps, but it's really hard, and sometimes almost impossible, when people try to make these big changes on their own. I've seen a lot of clients who have suffered with this issue and this has given my a passion for people dealing with this struggle.

Using "5 Hour Energy" is a mistake unto itself.

Yes, losing weight is complicated. Our bodies fight like mad to hold onto extra pounds, even if you do everything "right."

I don't believe the word, insomnia, was mentioned once. When you can't sleep you can't sleep and no amount of knowledge will remedy this. I made the connection for myself between lack of sleep and gaining weight. So now what? I walk around groggy most of the time. Last year I lost 20 pounds but still don't sleep. I am still losing weight very very slowly because I hear I have a better chance of keeping it off. 

But sleep eludes me. Here's why:
  • About once or twice a month I sleep well and feel absolutely wonderful but I know it will last less than two days and back to being in a fog - not to mention the long, long, dark nights. 
  • Too tired to read, too tired to watch TV. 
  • So more studies are done and relief is NOT on the way. 
  • I have a Physician friend who spent years doing sleep research. 
  • He told me - we know nothing - do your best to cope and sleep whenever you can. It is the best advice I ever had.

Suggest you read "Say Goodnight to Insomnia" by Gregg Jacobs. I am a Sleep Medicine MD and find this book invaluable for my patients. Good luck!

THX wyn. I will read it. But I have taken just about every workshop, every new idea and signed up for any study that would take me. No one asks anymore because I am old now. But sleep deprivation is a torture method and I know why. It's horrible. I will read the book and hope it works for me. I am sure you have heard endless stories of how long the nights become when you are sleepless. But I can read your book then. THX again.
Over the past couple of years, I found myself gaining weight despite a rigorous diet and exercise program. I also found myself with severe, intractable insomnia (for which my idiot p-doc prescribed Seroquel because "Ambien is addictive" - which cause me to gain even MORE weight and become prediabetic - I tossed those pills down the toilet!), nightmares, restless sleep, waking up to pee every night, a mouth so dry I found myself waking in the middle of the night just to gulp water. I demanded and got a sleep test. The diagnosis - SEVERE sleep apnea. I now have a CPAP and a new lease on life.

I do not look like a "typical" apnea patient - not severely overweight, female, under 50. Yet I have *severe* apnea. The difference to my life and the quality of my sleep is miraculous. (And, btw, the machine is small and quiet, it blows heated humid air, and I have one of those wee little nose masks - nothing is cumbersome.) 

Not only do I feel more rested, and have been able to dispense with insomnia meds AND anti-depressants, I've been able to stick to much healthier eating and exercise habits. Sure, I eat ice cream every once in a while, but it's a treat, not a habit. I don't need to snack constantly to keep my energy up. I'm losing inches off my waist and pounds off the scale, and my insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) is going away as well.


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