The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on your Muscles
By: Marylin Salgado
I have worked in healthcare for 15 years. I have worked all shift combinations you can think off. The toughest one is definitely 11pm to 7am and then staying to work 7 am to 3 pm. Overall, overnight shifts are ridiculously exhausting. Working 3pm to 11pm and then staying until 7 am is sleep deprivation at its best.
Some people gain weight. Others lose weight. Some eat constantly. Some end up in the bathroom vomiting. Either way, losing sleep over work or partying is really hard on the body. Studies have shown not getting enough hours of sleep can actually cause loss of muscle mass. It also effects muscle gains and recovery.
Just one night of sleep deprivation is all it takes for your body to begin storing extra fat and breaking down muscle. Many shift workers, such as security guards, first responders or health care workers, who work varying shifts or overnight shifts, have been known to develop obesity or Type II Diabetes.
A study was done at Uppsala University in Sweden and recorded on New Scientist Online. During this study, fat and muscle samples were taken from 15 healthy young men on two separate mornings. A portion of these men had a good night’s sleep. The other portion had a sleepless night. Those men who did not sleep well had signs of protein breakdown. The fat tissue, instead, had high levels of proteins and metabolites that assist with fat storage.
Sleep deprivation can also mess with the body’s metabolism causing disruption of the normal hormonal cycles. This causes an interruption in human growth hormone or HGH and testosterone, which help with muscle growth and development.
Glucose is a type of sugar that is stored in the body and used for energy. When you sleep, glucose gets stored in the muscle. Glucose that is stored in the muscle as muscle glycogen produces more energy than the glucose that is stored in the blood.
Poor sleep means poor or even lousy performance at the gym. I can remember a few times I was completely exhausted from only getting about four hours of sleep and then going to the gym and pushing myself to do some cardio. The weight lifting was about as good as five reps can get in just only one set and it felt like complete burnout. I could not wait to get home, shower and put my head on the pillow.
If you have a hard time falling asleep due to insomnia, another medical condition, stress or work schedules, there are ways to remediate these issues.
- Purchase a new mattress. I personally used memory foam and it works wonders on my back after a long shift or tough workout.
- Try listening to some relaxing music before sleeping. Over stimulation before sleep will only keep you awake longer.
- You get home hungry or wake up to a midnight snack; why not prepare a protein shake? A protein shake will make you feel full and at the same time, it is easily and quickly broken down.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol can make you feel tired, but for some it takes a good amount of alcohol before this happens. Which means you are going to bed drunk and waking up hung over. Caffeine is a stimulant and can actually keep you awake. I have known a few people who drink coffee to go to sleep, but this is very unusual.
- Create a sleeping routine. If you work varying shifts, then try to sleep the same number of hours when you get home. Studies show 5 ½ hours of sleep results in less muscle mass, as opposed to adding 4 ½ hours of sleep to your already sleep deprived body.
- Silence your cell phone and any other tech equipment you have at home or nearby. Studies show on average a person checks their phone 96 times a day or at least once every 10 minutes, if not more.
How can sleep deprivation, which leads to muscle weakness affect you as you age? Muscle weakness has been associated with falls, hip fractures, glucose intolerance and decrease in bone density. Furthermore, lack of sleep has been related to concentration and memory decline, mood changes, low sex drive, increased mortality, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. You won’t die from not sleeping enough, but you may from the risk factors associated with sleep deprivation. Some may be falling asleep while driving your car, operating heavy machinery or from other medical conditions developed after years of poor sleep quality.
This platform is meant to educate Tokkyo Nutrition consumers with the information needed to help you stay mentally and physically healthy. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT US AND OUR GREAT PRODUCTS, PLEASE VISIT US AT TOKKYONUTRITION.COM FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM AND POST YOUR THOUGHTS AND IDEAS. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU!!