Activate Appetite-Controlling Hormones with Sleep, Surge Training

For those struggling to lose weight naturally, sleep should become an area of focus. Multiple studies have shown that poor sleeping habits cause–and are caused by–weight gain. Lack of sleep disrupts the function of hunger-related hormones, while the accumulation of fat around the midsection (belly fat) can lead to many common sleeping problems.

Though it is a bit of a double-edged sword, this cycle can be improved and even reversed through simple, effective steps.

Cause and Effect

Insufficient sleep affects the hormones of men and women differently, yet produces a similar outcome. According to a study in the journal SLEEP, poor sleep caused men to produce more ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. Women, on the other hand, produced a less-than-typical amount of the hormone GLP-1, which tells the body that it is full.[1. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031151604.htm] Both cases (increased hunger and decreased fullness) can lead to eating 300 to 500 more calories daily than someone who is getting regular, sufficient sleep.[2. http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/15/why-sleep-deprivation-may-lead-to-overeating/]

The flip side of the coin is that the accumulation of belly fat actually makes it more difficult to sleep well. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University determined that weight loss led to a significant improvement in quality of sleep.

Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and the study’s author, said, “The key ingredient for improved sleep quality from our study was a reduction in overall body fat, and, in particular belly fat, which was true no matter the age or gender of the participants.” [3. http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/595744/?sc=mwhr&xy=10003935]

Participants in the study lost an average of 15 pounds and reduced belly fat by about 15 percent.

“Belly fat is almost like a living organ. It produces proteins that cause inflammation,” Stewart said in an interview with TIME Magazine. “When you lose a lot of belly fat in particular, the level of those substances go way down, and the inflammatory response is much less than it was before.” [4. http://healthland.time.com/2012/11/06/cant-sleep-losing-belly-fat-might-help/?xid=newsletter-healthland]

As inflammation was reduced, the study participants reported a 20 percent improvement in their quality of sleep.

The Best Place to Start

Exercise helps burn calories, which leads to weight loss. In turn, losing weight–especially belly fat–has been shown to improve sleep, which prevents overeating. Therefore, your first step should be to identify a fitness routine to help burn belly fat.

Short-duration, high-intensity surge training requires a fraction of the time typically spent laboring on an exercise bike and has actually been shown to target inflammation-causing belly fat. Surge training requires little time and no bulky equipment. Jogging in place, jumping jacks, push-ups and other bodyweight exercises are perfect pieces of a simple surge training program (like MaxT3).

As an added bonus, high-intensity exercise will also improve the quality and duration of sleep.

Sleeping six hours or fewer at night increases risk of depression, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions. Eight hours of quality sleep is essential to maintaining healthy energy levels and proper immune function, and surge training is the perfect route to better sleep.

Starting a Training Program

Getting started is often the most difficult aspect of implementing a fitness routine. Maximized Living doctors across the country host weekly group workouts to encourage their communities to experience the fat-burning benefits of surge training. Start burning fat today by joining a MaxT3 surge workout at your nearest Maximized Living doctor’s clinic.