We all know we need sleep – in the same way we understand that exercise is good for us and cinnamon rolls should be eaten (in moderation) with butter.
But if you’ve spent the night staring at the ceiling running through a loop list of stressors, setting your alarm for 5:20 a.m. to make that early morning spin class could be doing your body – and your waistline – more harm than good.
Who does Gwyneth Paltrow turn to when she can’t sleep? Integrative medicine guru Dr. Frank Lipman. So naturally, we did too. Good enough for Gwyneth, good enough for us.
Bottom line: rest matters. Here’s why.
How does sleep, or lack of it, affect our weight?
Lack of good sleep affects our weight because it disrupts our metabolism and hormonal balance in a number of ways, and they all reinforce each other. For instance, lack of sleep is a stressor… stress stimulates cortisol… and cortisol cues your body to retain fat.
Excess cortisol also disrupts your insulin response, which further cues your body to retain fat. And just as it throws your insulin out of whack, when you don’t sleep enough you don’t produce enough glucagon. And just as insulin cues your body to store fat, glucagon tells your body to burn it. So not enough sleep means you don’t make enough glucagon to keep that fat burning.
We often hear that we should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep — is that true?
Yes, that’s true; most research has shown we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. If you are feeling irritable, anxious, and/or depressed, if you get easily frustrated, if you are suffering from a loss of mental clarity, an impaired memory, or a decreased ability to tolerate physical and emotional stress, a weak immune function, or a tendency to gain weight and a hard time losing it, you may not be getting enough sleep.
If we know we are inevitably going to be running low on sleep during a busy time at work/in life, is there something we can do to otherwise keep our metabolism and weight steady?
Yes: Cut out sugar, meditate, exercise, and keep your microbiome healthy and balanced.
Adapted from Goop Clean Beauty ($45) by The Editors of Goop, published by Hachette Australia.