Sleep Deprivation and Overeating.    August 11 2013

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For time:
Complete three rounds of:
5 Muscle-ups
5 Deficit handstand push-ups
Then, 160 pound barbell Overhead walking lunges, 90 feet

Sarah and Josh visited CrossFit Nordic in Stockholm, Sweden!  From Sarah: Even though we can't speak Swedish (and couldn't understand the coach when he was talking to the class), we were able to understand the WODs on the whiteboard just fine.

Sarah and Josh visited CrossFit Nordic in Stockholm, Sweden! From Sarah: Even though we can’t speak Swedish (and couldn’t understand the coach when he was talking to the class), we were able to understand the WODs on the whiteboard just fine.

Sleep Deprivation and Overeating.

Last week I slept like crap – all. week. long.  I also had an insatiable palate.  No, I wasn’t hungry after breakfast, I simply just wanted to eat the fridge.  No, after a big lunch I wasn’t still hungry, I just felt like eating three handfuls of almonds.  After an hour nap one day I woke up and without thinking walked straight to the fridge and opened the door.  WTF?!  What was so baffling was that nothing I ate satisfied my phantom need to eat more food.

Friday night was different.  I slept 12.5 hours (Eric might have thought I was dead).  I woke up and it was as if a cloud had been lifted.  I felt refreshed, inspired by the morning air, ready to take on the day, and had no desire to eat the fridge after breakfast.  This continued all day.

There is a tremendous connection between sleep deprivation and overeating.  In a recent study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism conference, researchers discovered that sleep deprivation led an individual to consume upwards of 500 additional calories per day!

I first experienced this in 2008 while starting the shop and working full-time.  Typical days turned into full days at work, evenings turned into late nights working on the shop, and teaching early morning classes made for 4-6 hours of sleep a night – which led to 5 or so more pounds on my frame.  What proved even more frustrating was that when I did make it through a period of a few weeks with rock solid nutrition, I still didn’t drop the extra LBs!

It wasn’t until I sat down with a friend and prominent phsyiologist who said I just needed to sleep more.  Just FOUR DAYS of 8 hour a night sleep and I was back to my usual weight.

In my experience, simply knowing there is a connection between sleep deprivation and overeating helps me combat the desire to eat for seven on a day after I’ve lost some sleep.  The key is I have to REMEMBER this is happening.

The articles below talk about the topic in more depth and can provide us with the knowledge to make an effort to sleep.  And on the days after sleep just didn’t happen, know why we feel the way we do.

Why Sleep Deprivation May Lead to Overeating

Paleo Living and the Sleep-Stree Cycle
Includes a great graphic on the sleep-stree cycle!

Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival
A full book on sleep that is WELL WORTH the read.