Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You are getting verrrrrry sleeeepy.....

In the past 24-36 hours I have seen a substantial increase in both fasting and post-prandial glucose readings. Only two things have changed in that time frame.
  • Not ingesting my usual ~3g/day of fish oil
  • Only getting ~ 5 hours of sleep the last 2 nights
The fish oil could have a role - although I would believe it to be very minor if anything - due to upsetting the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. I tend to believe that was more at play a week back or so where I had a ~48 hour window of elevated readings after ingesting a serious amount of bacon the few days prior to those readings - but not so much now.
I think the larger culprit may be - hopefully - the lack of sleep I have gotten in the past 48 hours. Then today in my inbox I find this - How Much Do You Need to Sleep Every Night to Prevent Weight Gain? (Mercola.com). The article states:

In one study, researchers found people who received
only four hours of sleep a night
for two nights experienced:
  • 18 percent reduction in leptin
  • 28 percent increase in ghrelin

Well, if such a short period of sleep deprivation can effect these two hormones to such a degree - and knowing how inter-connected the endocrine system is even in our current feable understanding of it - then it's not far fetched that it would also have a marked effect on other hormones such as insulin, glucogon, etc.
Some may see these changes in leptin and ghrelin as unhealthy or some defect at first glance - but maybe not?
If you put stock in the premise that food is medicine - maybe this is simply the bodies' acute response to compensate for the sleep deprivation in order to maintain homeostasis?
"You aren't getting enough rest and repair through sleep, so I am going to increase your appetite to ingest more nutrients to try and make up the difference!"
Just as it is a normal, healthy response by the body to release insulin after ingesting carbohydrates - maybe these leptin and ghrelin changes work in a similar fashion? Maybe it only becomes unhealthy or damaging when we never remove the underlying stimulus for their occurance...and the changes progress from being ACUTE - to CHRONIC?!
And then - Frequent Napping Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults - ScienceDaily.com. Again, maybe the napping is a natural response to compensate for a lack of sleep? Maybe the correlation with diabetes stems from a variety of factors - ones that would be common in a lifestyle with sleep deprivation?
Too often it seems we mistake and misunderstand the workings of the bodies' responses in terms of acute vs. chronic!
I will be concentrating on getting back to a full-nights sleep tonight and see what happens.


  1. T.S. Wiley's book on sleep makes for an interesting read. Her hypothesis is a little overblown and far-fetched, but the book is not without any merit whatsoever.