Can one night of poor sleep disrupt metabolism. Studies weigh in

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Can one night of poor sleep disrupt metabolism? Studies weigh in

We all know how important sleep is to our overall mental and physical health. Good sleep helps our body recover, keeps our brains sharp and improves our immune system. Good sleep is considered the foundation of good health. Now we pose the question; can one night of poor sleep disrupt metabolism? Studies weigh in.

New research, from Uppsala University, found that one single night of sleep loss can affect the metabolic rate that causes weight gain and chronic disease – Yikes!

Until now it has remained unknown whether sleep loss per se can cause molecular changes at the tissue level. So much that it can grant an increased risk of adverse weight gain.

What the study found

In the new study, the researchers studied 15 healthy normal-weight adults. They took tissue and blood samples before and after a night of good sleep (8 hours) and night of no sleep. After analysing these samples, researchers observed increased inflammation and multiple adverse changes at the molecular level in response to the sleepless night. They found that acute sleep loss alters genome-wide DNA methylation, which is how the body turns genes on and off. They also discovered that the genes responsible for adipose fat tissue cells were affected differently than those of skeletal muscle tissue.

After a sleepless night, the genes responsible for increasing the capacity for stored fat were turned on, promoting weight gain. While skeletal muscle tissue showed evidence of breaking down, suggesting the genes may have turned off. This could possibly lead to high-fat, low-muscle-mass body composition, arise for many chronic diseases.

Previous studies have shown that lack of sleep slows metabolism, stimulate more food cravings and increase appetite, increases the risk of cancer and chronic diseases. However, this is the first study that provides insight into how changes begin to take place.

Although it is a small study since it only looked at two nights of sleep. Further study is needed to fully understand whether these metabolic changes are permanent or can be reversed with good sleep, exercise, good diet and good lifestyle choices.

Benefits of sleep

Regardless, good sleep is utterly important. A good night sleep turns down the stress system, lowers cortisol levels, and regulates hormones that regulate our weight.  It recalibrates our emotional brain circuit, allowing us to navigate the social and psychological challenges of our lives with composure. During sleep, our body restocks and revamps our immune system helping us fight and preventing infection and warding off illnesses.

Sleep well for a happier and healthier you.

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