Ensuring that you are sleeping enough helps with hormonal health via its direct impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and the autonomic nervous system. Hormonal patterns that are linked with our circadian rhythm are thrown off with sleep deprivation, not to mention the countless other disease related cascades that are initiated. Deep sleep is correlated with higher rates of parasympathetic nervous system activity with lower rates of sympathetic nervous system activity. When sleep deprivation is present - the opposite exists. Furthermore, most endocrine organs are sensitive to these shifts in autonomic nervous system - like the pancreas, which we rely on for insulin. Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked with higher levels of circulating cortisol, the stress hormone, which makes sense since there is higher sympathetic tone. However, it is especially elevated in the evening, where it should be lowest.
TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, was also drastically decreased following sleep deprivation. We know how important proper thyroid function is in metabolic health.
Leptin and Ghrelin, hormones that control satiety/hunger, respectively, rely heavily on good sleep, this can mean a difference in your body efficiently losing weight or not. Leptin levels, were shown to decrease with chronic sleep deprivation regardless of caloric intake. This means that regardless of how much food was consumed in that time period, the body’s leptin levels were signaling that the individual was in a starved state. Ghrelin levels were elevated with sleep loss, stimulating a greater appetite with an affinity towards carbohydrate rich foods. In conclusion, lack of sleep plays a huge role in our body’s ability to accurately signal hunger and satiety, this could easily lead to overeating and therefore weight gain.
Insulin and Glucagon, hormones that regulate blood sugar are also thrown out of whack, leading to insulin resistance and poor nutrient assimilation, therefore fat gain. Marked postprandial elevations in blood glucose in a sleep deprived state were also noted. CONTINUED IN COMMENTS.