By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
In a previous article, I discussed the association of late night eating and weight gain. The hazards of sleep deprivation are far worse.
If you stay up late, you can still theoretically get enough sleep. The inverse is also true, you can sleep early but also not get enough sleep. But when people are sleep deprived, sleeping 4-6 hours for consecutive nights, the body becomes less responsive to insulin (30% or more).
It's like metabolically aging someone as much as 20 years. It also kills brain cells. This leaves you more at risk for type 2 diabetes, metabolic damage, and an increase in fat. It also causes breathing problems due to increased stress and disrupted breathing, leading to sleep apnea and chronic sinus and respiratory infections (your immune system becomes more susceptible to infection with poor sleep). It lowers sex drive, and for men it also means a decrease in testosterone and sperm count.
Lack of sleep can create less alertness and clarity, and more distress. Sleep deprivation is also associated with strokes, heart disease, cancer, and sudden death.
There is the loss of productivity, financial risks, and increased likelihood of accidents.
And weight gain and muscle loss?
People who sleep less tend to eat more (which only makes sense as they have more waking hours), and they're more likely to burn off muscle rather than fat. Your body requires more energy because you're awake longer, so it makes you eat more, wanting to store more of it, and getting rid of the tissue that can burn off that stored energy (muscle). In a diabolical sense it all makes sense.
Muscle loves rest, and without enough rest, your muscles shrivel away, opening the door to more fat.
In a study of over a 1,000 twins, they found that the twins who slept a shorter duration tended to gain more weight. Shorter sleep increased expression of genetic risks for high body weight.
It starts out small and eventually it may be the thing that kills you
Sleep deprivation usually starts in late high school and college, as staying up late becomes the norm. After a while it just becomes a habit, and your body can't ever seem to re-sync with itself.
It'll take discipline, but start with eating breakfast and dinner earlier. Wake up earlier, and avoid staying up late if you can. It'll take some time but you need to reset your internal clock to be more of a morning person, it's important. Create good sleep habits, there's a lot of famous night owls but it's counter-intuitive to longevity.
Along with social interactions, good sleep is the other key ingredient that the cultures with the longest lifespans have in common.
Test to see if you're sleep deprived
Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.