Biohacking For Your Hormonal Well being And Weightloss
Sleep Deprivation Affects Hormones and Weight
Society has become so industrialized that for some people, sleep has become a rare commodity. Life has become so fast-paced that many people try to extend their waking hours to accomplish as much as they can. A lack of sleep has almost become a way of life, rather than an exception.
In the short-term, working round-the-clock is possible, thanks to your hormone, adrenalin. However, chronic lack of sleep is dangerous to your health. While you can deprive yourself of sleep for a period of time, it will ultimately catch up with you in more ways than one.
Sleep is crucial for your survival, and your mental, and physical health. If you cut down on sleep to fit more in your day, you will wreak havoc on your hormones, and if you are trying to lose weight, it will affect your weight loss goals in the process.
Some people think that depriving themselves of sleep will actually help them lose weight. On the contrary, lack of sleep will slow down your metabolism, and when this happens, you can expect to gain weight. Stretching your waking hours even for just a day will create a hormonal imbalance.
Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Michael Breus said it best when he compared hormones to traffic signs, that tell the body to stop or go. The hormones ensure that the body does not only perform its functions well but remains well-balanced.
When you are sleep-deprived, your traffic signals go crazy and as a result, your body is caught off-balance. Imagine your body being told to go, when it is meant to stop, and the other way around.
Experts have identified hormones that will be greatly affected when you are deprived of sleep. Unfortunately, these hormones influence your body weight too, so you can expect to gain more weight as you continue to deprive yourself of sleep.
These are the hormones affected.
Insulin has become infamous because of its role in the management of diabetes. It plays an important role in regulating your blood sugar so that you do not suffer from hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. While insulin is important for survival, it is a hormone that stores fat. The more insulin you have, the more fat you store. When you deprive yourself of sleep, you are at risk of becoming insulin-resistant, albeit temporarily. You are also bound to gain more weight.
Ghrelin is a multi-tasking hormone, but one of its most important functions is to stimulate your appetite. It is known as ‘the hunger hormone.’ It’s an easy hormone to remember, because we associate hunger with a grumbling belly, so ghrelin is the grumbler. It increases your appetite and also promotes the storage of fat. It also slows down your metabolism. When you lack in sleep, your ghrelin levels will be affected.
Leptin plays a key role in regulating your weight. If working properly, leptin sends signals to the brain that allows you to curb your appetite, but when it’s not working, then you can develop resistance and obesity occurs.
Cortisol is your stress or survival hormone, so if this hormone increases, you tend to overeat on your comfort foods. When stress becomes habitual, overeating, and not sleeping becomes a regular part of life. Unfortunately, it can increase your insulin levels. When this happens, expect to crave for foods with high fat and sugar content.
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HGF – Human Growth Hormone
This hormone helps not only in cell repair and generation but also in metabolism. A reduction in your HGH levels due to age or a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. More than that, it can also lead to suffering from serious health conditions, such as heart problems and diabetes.
The production of HGH is at its peak when you are in a deep sleep. It follows that if you do not get enough quality sleep, then your HGH levels go down, along with your ability to lose weight.
As you can see, there is more downside to losing sleep than seeing a few black bags under your eyes. Sleep deprivation will not only make you irritable and inefficient; it will also impede your weight loss efforts.
Even machines need periodic maintenance if they are to function efficiently. You need to take care of your body, so that it functions like a well-oiled machine too. Subjecting your body to sleepless nights will ultimately make it weak and unable to perform its normal functions. So the next time you are tempted to extend your waking hours, think again!
The Cortisol Hormone and Belly Fat
People often don’t realize that their cortisol hormone could be causing some of their belly fat problem. Plus, many people are not even aware that their belly fat is made up of three types of fat.
The Cortisol Hormone
Cortisol is a hormone released in the adrenal glands that is activated during a fight-or-flight response. It is also known as a stress-release hormone, and as we know chronic stress is a precursor to many health problems.
If your cortisol levels increase, you increase the risk of developing a lowered immune system, low bone density, hypertension, cholesterol, and what most people are worried about more, rapid weight gain. Persistently elevated cortisol levels are not good for you, period.
There are three types of fat in the human body – visceral, subcutaneous, and triglycerides.
- Visceral Fat – This is located around the organs inside the abdomen. Too much visceral fat produces annoying belly fat or the obvious pot belly, and is often affected by hormones.
- Subcutaneous Fat – This is a type of fat located underneath the skin, just above the muscle. You can easily pinch your subcutaneous fat between finger and thumb.
- Triglycerides – You may have heard of this when cholesterol is discussed. Triglycerides are continuously circulating inside our blood stream. It is often used by our body for a variety of metabolic activities.
Visceral and subcutaneous fats are the most visible type of fats and are storehouses of our body’s fat. These two fats are essential when it comes to energy contribution. They act together to provide the energy requirements when not enough food is eaten.
Cortisol and Belly Fat — What You Need to Know
Fat is stored in your body when you have consume excess calories that were not immediately converted into energy. If you eat more than your required calorie intake, your body will start to store the extra as fat. Depending on various factors, fat metabolism may process slowly or may accelerate.
Both visceral and subcutaneous fats are stored inside your fat cells. Even though your fat cells are metabolically inactive, they are still triggering hormones that have different effects on the body.
Visceral fat increases abdominal bloat, and the fat itself does not have much benefit. It may be present on people who have low subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is dangerous for the body. Its presence is strongly associated with chronic cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, etc.
Cortisol and Belly Fat Reduction
To help reduce cortisol and belly fat build up, there are some natural steps you can take. If you are carrying fat in your abdominal region, you should be taking steps to halt and reduce it.
- Stick to a Healthy Diet Plan
Become more aware of what you are eating. Remember, you are what you eat. A meal rich in protein and low in simple carbs is an effective start. Cut out all processed foods immediately. Remember, your body needs dietary fat, so include foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids, use olive oil instead of grain-derived oils, and enjoy an avocado.
- Reduce Your Stress Levels
Apart from diet, an effective way to diminish belly fat and lower cortisol levels is to reduce your stress levels. Many people simply say “that is not possible with my life”. However there are two factors here. Firstly, it is often possible with some deep reflection to actively avoid some of the stressors that trigger your stress responses.
Secondly, there are proven methods to manage those triggers which may be largely unavoidable. Practice some yoga and mindfulness training. Engage in daily exercise, which will help to naturally disperse the cortisol buildup. This will help get rid of unwanted fats and boost your mood. If necessary, seek professional advice such as counselling or therapy.
- Remove Bad Habits From Your Life
Drinking, smoking, eating too much, these are all bad habits you need to stop. Yes, you have probably been told it before, and with good reason.
Don’t let excess belly fat ruin your health, enjoyment in life, and your longevity. It’s not comfortable to carry around, and it’s certainly not an attractive look people strive for. Instead, be responsible and maintain a healthy lifestyle, belly fat free!
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