Why Your Sleep Habits May be Sabotaging Your fat loss.

Have the results from your fat loss efforts been less than stellar lately? You follow a meal plan and up the cardio only to find your weight loss plateau after only a few short weeks.  Worse, you feel like you have lost more lean muscle than fat!  This scenario is often due to a failure to address one foundational element to a better body….sleep!

The Problem

You probably know that getting adequate sleep is important for optimal health.  But what you may not know is that getting enough shuteye is also critically important to losing body fat and maintaining a lean, muscular physique.

This is especially important today as the average adult is sleeping less than ever. In fact, only 21% of American Adults get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. 

We often sacrifice sleep in the name of “getting things done”, but this is a two steps forward and three steps back approach.  What good is sleeping less to get a workout in if sleeping less is going to cause your body to be less efficient with its use of calories?

The Study

This is exactly what researchers at the University of Chicago found happens when our caloric intake doesn’t change, but we get less sleep. The researchers had subjects follow a specific diet twice in a laboratory setting where they could control what the subjects ate and monitor and control their sleep. [1]

The subjects underwent two two week stays in the lab where they were given 90% of the calories they would need to maintain their weight resulting in a 10% caloric deficit.

During one two week stay the subjects were allowed to sleep 5.5 hours per night, while during the other two week stay the subjects were allowed to sleep 8.5 hours per night.

After each of the 2 week interventions the researchers tested subjects for a primary measure of loss of fat and fat-free body mass. Secondary measures were changes in substrate utilization, energy expenditure, hunger, and 24-hour metabolic hormone concentrations.

The results were eye opening to say the least.

The Results 

“Sleep curtailment decreased the proportion of weight lost as fat by 55% (1.4 vs. 0.6 kg with 8.5 vs. 5.5 hours of sleep opportunity, respectively; P = 0.043) and increased the loss of fat-free body mass by 60% (1.5 vs. 2.4 kg; P = 0.002). This was accompanied by markers of enhanced neuroendocrine adaptation to caloric restriction, increased hunger, and a shift in relative substrate utilization toward oxidation of less fat.” According to the researchers. 

Think about that. Both groups lost the same amount of scale weight per 14 day period, however body composition was drastically different.  That is, with calories matched between the two periods, and with the only change being getting less sleep, the total weight loss was the same, however the proportion of fat lost was much lower during the low sleep period while the loss of lean body mass was much higher. 

This illustrates just how important adequate sleep is when your goal isn’t just weight loss, but fat loss.  And that is a critically important distinction, as your goal should be to lose body fat not “weight” since a loss of lean body mass can lower your basal metabolic rate, slowing your metabolism and making continued fat loss even harder. 

This is exactly why, for most people, dieting gets harder and harder.  They lose lean body mass which then sabotages their metabolism and the cycle gets progressively worse.

The solution: More Vitamin D, more sleep

Getting the recommended 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep is a must if you want optimal results out of your fat loss and lean mass preservation efforts.  But getting enough sleep may be easier said than done.  Even if you allow adequate time for sleep you may have a hard tine falling or staying asleep.  For many of us this has to do with blue light devices such as cell phones in bed keeping us awake and cutting into our sleep time, but what about when we aren’t distracted and we still can’t seem to fall and stay asleep?

The answer may lie in low levels of vitamin D.  in fact, over half of the world population is deficient in this essential vitamin. And your vitamin d levels are directly related to the quality as well as the amount of sleep that you get.  Research has shown that lower vitamin d levels correlate with both difficulty in falling asleep as well as reduced sleep efficiency, or a harder tome staying asleep. [3]

In addition, research has found that those who increase their vitamin d levels also improve their duration and quality of sleep. [4]

Most of us are low in vitamin d due to our modern lifestyles where we spend the majority of our time indoors while our bodies synthesize vitamin d through time spent outdoors via exposure to sunlight on our skin.  

This means that vitamin d supplementation is the only way for most of us to get the adequate levels of vitamin d required for optimal results. 

How much Vitamin D?

The US governments UL (upper limit) recommendation is 4000iu of vitamin d.  It is recommended to spend at least 15 minutes per day in direct sunlight to allow your body to synthesize this, however since this isn’t always possible, especially in the winter months,  supplementing with at least 4000iu of vitamin d is a wise strategy. 

MYOVITE with 5000iu Vitamin D

Taking MYOVITE daily with 5000iu of vitamin D is a sound strategy to ensure that your vitamin D levels and your sleep are optimal for fat loss and lean body mass preservation.  

In addition to vitamin D, MYOVITE includes magnesium which may work synergistically to help the body use vitamin D more efficiently. 

Putting it Into Practice 

To ensure that you are setting yourself up for successful fat loss, make sure that you afford yourself 7 to 8.5 hours of sleep on a regular basis.  That means getting in bed, free of electronics with ample time to fall asleep, so you likely need to allow 7.5 hours to 9 hours of bed time.  In addition, take MYOVITE twice per day to get 5000iu of vitamin D.  With sleep optimized, you will naturally maintain a better body composition by burning more calories from body fat and far fewer calories from lean/ fat free mass. 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20357041

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844843

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25581929

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22583560