« Tshirts Have Taken Over My Closet | Main | Lots and Lots of Training Plan Stuff »

More Sleep = Better Running & Fewer Midnight Cravings

A strange thing happened to me recently…I got a full night’s sleep!

Better_sleep_4 For months now I’ve been staying up later and later.  The reasons aren’t important, but the outcome has been noticeable.  Burning the midnight oil has left me chronically tired and most days without the energy level to run as consistently as I’m used to.

Another outcome of my late nights and less sleep is weight gain.
It’s been puzzling and frustrating how I haven’t been able to shed the pounds.  It wasn’t until talking with a friend, a non-runner who has 70+ pounds to lose, that I put it all together.  The friend is working closely with his doctor who says step number one in successful weight loss—even before calorie counting and smaller serving portions—is getting adequate sleep.  He cites two reasons:

  • Without enough sleep the brain will not let the body devote the required energy to exercise, so the desire and the capability to increase calorie burn is just not there.
  • Inadequate sleep produces poor judgment around eating.  The brain just doesn’t do its job managing our cravings, including informing the stomach we’re not hungry.

This is me to a T

When I’m well rested, I can resist calorie-stoked temptations.   When I’m up late, the refrigerator and the cupboard doors swing open magically and beckon me to graze on snacks and leftovers.  I cave in like Cheetos are a god.  So for nearly every night in the last six months I’ve eaten a fourth meal, and generally with no nutritional value and empty calories.

For those who need some scientific basis for all this, here’s the scoop.  Inadequate sleep:

  • interferes with the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood levels of glucose, which leads to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.
  • drives down leptin levels, which causes the body to crave carbohydrates.
  • reduces levels of growth hormone, a protein that helps regulate the body's proportions of fat and muscle.

So my experiment these days—I’m always tweaking something with my running—is start an early-to-bed habit.  It’s easy to say, but tough to turn in when I still have favorite blogs to read and posts to write, which I tend to enjoy later in the evening. 

There's no shortage of material and research connecting sleep with weight loss, and here's an interesting piece on how to sleep like an Olympian.

But in the short time I’m getting to bed earlier, I’m finding that energy to run and no more piling on hundreds of calories at midnight!

Better Sleep sign on Flickr by Sodapopper

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452cb5569e200e551cb5f6a8834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More Sleep = Better Running & Fewer Midnight Cravings:

Comments

Viv

Great post Tom!!

I was laughing so hard when you said the fourth meal :-) This past week I have found myself getting some great sleep, and a great weight loss. I am also asleep for the fourth meal. Happy sleeping!

madeline

I think you may have just solved my problem. I'm looking at about 10 pounds of "winter weight," and it seems like no amount of running (extra miles, more intensity) is touching it.

Staying up late to do research and write (and eat Doritos) is doing nothing for my cause. I've got to find a way to re-organize my time. Thanks again for the "heads up!"

Ed Hammerbeck

Holy peanut butter sandwiches at 3 AM Batman! This is why I cannot lose weight, despite running 20-25 miles per week! I have to figure this one out.

Nancy

Me, too. :P

Allison

I've been on a similar quest lately - I Need More Sleep! Thanks for the article links - I will definitely check them out!

Paul

Very good post!! If only I can figure out how to make this work with a two month old.

jessica

I find this to be INCREDIBLY true for myself -- and not only for the scientific reasons, but also because when I'm well rested, I have the required energy to PLAN my food and to get in a great workout -- and then I'm tired from my workout so I sleep well again and the cycle continues.

Andrew is getting fit

So true, so true. I've forgotten what great sleep is. 9 month old baby who still doesn't sleep through the night doesn't help. ;)

Jess

I'm with you on this one. I'm always "hungrier" when I don't get enough sleep.

SLB

Great post but can you write a follow up on how to do it with a 6 m/o baby! J/K ;-)

Database Diva

I think I had a resolution about getting "enough sleep" in January. It is probably the most difficult one to keep, especially with a 7x24 job. Plenty of sleep is also necessary to recover from an injury. Thanks for the reminder!

Kelsey

getting enough sleep is a great idea, and believe me, there is nothing i would rather do right now than sleep enough, but i just don't seem to have the time, something has to give and lately its been my sleep! luckily there is always the weekends to catch up (even though i know that isn't that great for me...)

kdays

Tom, I really enjoyed your article, it is so true about getting enough sleep. Thanks for the links too.

@database diva - I'm not sure you can 'catch up' on sleep :)

At kdays.com I host the Running Blog Carnival.

This post was included in the Running #2008-10 edition.

Cheers,
Kerrin

Derica Spieker

I hope this has been working out for you, Tom! Indeed, sleeping is a better way to amass enough energy for vigorous activities such as running. It's quite commonsensical, actually, how sleeping can take away the time that you are supposed to be munching on extra calories. If only staying up late wasn't that fun, everybody would go with this healthier routine.

coach outlet store

This is the one we did, isn't it??? It's one of my all time favorite runs.

Herve Leger Dress


I love running in the hot weather as long as I'm hydrated properly and have Sharkies with me. I may have to slow down my pace a little if it is a really long run, other than that keep your fluids up and wear a hat!

Asics Running Shoes

This is the one we did, isn't it??? It's one of my all time favorite runs.!

NFL store

Mr. Obama spoke in a wide-ranging news conference held at the completion of an Asia-Pacific economic forum, held in his home state of Hawaii late Sunday. The setting for the question-and-answer session was picture perfect, with the sun setting over the blue ocean as the president fielded questions on a wide range of domestic and international issues.

international pharmacy

Thanks for another great recommendation. People should search for that kind of information to have amazing runs.

buy alli

Research has shown that sleeping at recommended hours also reduces the likelihood of one being obese.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

« Tshirts Have Taken Over My Closet | Main | Lots and Lots of Training Plan Stuff »

Technorati Bookmark: More Sleep = Better Running & Fewer Midnight Cravings

About Runners' Lounge

  • We are ordinary runners sharing our favorite passion – Running
    The lounge is our escape for conversation and connection to our favorite people – Runners.
    Join the conversation today at www.runnerslounge.com.

    Runners' Lounge
    An on-line community where runners Connect, Share, and Discover to more fully enjoy running!

Subscribe to RSS Feed