Sleep Yourself Thin

Posted by Nicholas Ritchey on Sep 29, 2012

Sleep may be THE most important key to fat loss.

A History of Sleep Neglect
In high school, I regularly slept 3-4 hours a night and got my additional sleep during classes at school. In college, I pulled all-nighters about once every other week, often pulling 2-3 per week around midterms and finals. I frequently went to bed when the sun was coming up, and started to play when the sun went down… and I loved it! Then, I started playing with polyphasic sleep… everything from bi-phasic sleep to the uberman schedule (20 minute naps only)… and I did the uberman longer than most people… about 4 months. But I was fat, sick, and stupid. The reasons I neglected sleep for so much of my life were due to ignorance and inexperience. I simply didn’t know how important sleep was, or how much better I would feel if I got more of it. After reading about the dramatic differences sleep makes in fat-loss, recovery, mood, stress, productivity and general well-being – I decided to give it a shot. What a world of difference! Maybe you’re a lot smarter than I am and KNOW how important sleep is, but it’s just hard to make time for. Maybe you’re as ignorant as I was and just need a bit more convincing. Regardless, if you’re looking for more reasons to justify your sleep, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what I’m about to share. Instead of addressing the millions of excuses people can come up with for not getting more sleep, I’ll be covering a few reasons why it’s critical for fat-loss… so critical, that I won’t teach any kind of radical diet or exercise until you have your sleep habits under control. This article will provide abundant support for the following recommendations: • If you’re sleep deprived and trying to lose fat, the best thing you can do is sleep more. • Forget diet, forget exercise… catch-up on sleep first and you’ll get far better longterm results with much less work. The beginning of this article will be conversational, then it will be more research-oriented, and finally, we’ll look at specific action steps you can take based on what you’ve learned. If it’s too long to finish in one sitting, bookmark this post and come back to it later… there’s a lot to digest!

. more often. and get ready to learn all about the importance of sleep for fat-loss. immune system function and likelihood of developing serious diseases. productivity. sick and diabetic. The Pros & Cons of Sleep The Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fat Loss • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Less Fat Loss More Muscle Loss (Lower Basal Metabolic Rate [BMR]) Less Resistance to Stress Lower Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Production Increased Insulin Resistance Increased Leptin Resistance Elevated Cortisol Greater Hunger Hungry More Frequently Eat More Calories Less Energy (which leads to less movement) Lose More Fat Lose Less Muscle (Higher BMR) Greater Resistance to Stress Greater HGH Production Faster Muscle Recovery Naturally Less Hungry. Get fat. making fat loss and muscle gain ridiculously difficult. Lack of sleep is BAD for fat-loss! • Are You Sleep Deprived? “If you do not sleep you will: 1. Lack of sleep throws your hormones all out of wack. And this article isn’t even touching on sleep deprivation’s impacts on energy. and to eat more. it could be a consistency problem… but even that is secondary when you’re sleep deprived because… It’s SEVERAL TIMES HARDER to lose fat when sleep deprived than it is to lose fat when well rested. It makes you more likely to be more hungry. sit yourself down comfortably. Less Often Naturally Eat Fewer Calories More Energy (which leads to more movement) The Positive Effects of Sleep on Fat Loss When you’re sleep deprived… It’s not your diet that’s holding you back… (I may eat more junk than you) • It’s not your exercise that’s holding you back… (I may work less hard than you. depression. 2. And even when you’re doing everything else right. it may take you five times longer to get to your goal if you’re sleep deprived.So get a warm drink. Completely cock-block your fat loss. especially if you’re a beginner) It’s your LACK OF SLEEP that’s holding you back! Of course.

• Sleeping 2 hours too little? . Also. you’re not going to feel as good as someone who slept from 9pm until 6am… just keep these in mind as we talk about being “well rested. it is ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL FAT-LOSS ACCELERATORS. What would you do if you didn’t have an alarm in the morning? Sleep more.Fat-loss will be 4X harder. That’s how much fun it is to be a type 2 diabetic all the time! Exercise can help. You’re overachievers. you can just focus on sleeping an extra hour or two for now. your chances of success will go up dramatically. This will be how much harder it is for you to succeed than someone who is waking up naturally and well-rested in the morning. “Just one night of missed or inadequate sleep is sufficient to make you as insulin resistant as a type 2 diabetic. It’ll help keep you from getting fatter and you’ll have more energy and less stress during the day. I realized that while sleep is frequently sacrificed or ignored. the more sleep deprived you are.” (1) But how do you know if you’re sleep deprived? Here are a few indicators (many which I’ll reference later): • You sleep less than 7 hours a night • You’re tired in the morning or have a hard time falling asleep • You wake-up to an alarm clock in the morning Let’s talk about the last one quickly because I can hear some objections already.” How Much Harder is Fat-Loss Without Sleep? Here’s a little formula for ya: Take the extra hours of sleep you need to wake up naturally and add one. right? And why is that? Because your body could use it! How many more hours do you need per night so that you’re not waking up to an alarm in the morning and feeling well rested? 1 hour? 2? 3? 4?!?!… The more hours you need to catch-up on. In my fat-loss coaching. If you’re undersleeping 1 hour per night.” (1) Ick! I don’t like feeling like a diabetic… how about you? . it’s better than liquored at 4am. fat-loss will be TWICE as hard. as well as THE BIGGEST FAT-LOSS BARRIER for overweight.Fat-loss will be 5X HARDER! Apologies to my lawyers’ friends who are chronically underslept… but weight loss is going to be really hard for you if you don’t sleep more. but your physiology never gets to normal without adequate sleep.3. Likewise. but you still may not feel well rested. and the harder the fat-loss journey will be for you. so once your job is only 2-3x as difficult as it is for the average. So maybe. Think about how crappy you feel when you miss sleep. If you go to bed all liquored up at 9pm. Get old and wrinkled before your time. but also the quality. • 3 hours? . • 4 hours? . if you sleep from 6am to 3pm in a bright room. wellrested person. it’s not just the quantity.Fat-loss will be 3X harder. underslept people. instead of making fat-loss your goal.

then you can consider diet and exercise. I made the same mistakes lots of people do and thought I was being more productive by sleeping less. you can go to bed earlier too. I miss waking-up to an alarm clock in the morning!” -said Nobody… Ever! Compare: “Aww. I don’t have energy to workout. wouldn’t it make sense to build greater energy and determination FIRST by getting more sleep. as quickly as possible. It’s funny.The Good News Unlike diet and exercise. • Afraid of waking-up at 4am in the morning? • Don’t know what to do with all that free time before work? • None of your favorite TV shows on and nobody to booze with? . healthiest and most energetic with a solid 8-9 hours at night. When Should You Go to Sleep? If the sun’s gone down. it takes practice. and force them to obey. Having a hard time falling asleep until 10pm is better than going to bed at 10pm and having a hard time until 10:30… that’s an extra 30 minutes of sleep! And once you get into the habit of sleeping earlier… guess what? It becomes easier! You’ll stop worrying so damn much and actually let yourself sleep. determination. I loathed sleep for the majority of my life. you sleep more. and energy to be successful… SLEEP BOOSTS WILLPOWER. it’s been a long day. But like anything good in life.” with. It’s essential for growth. I’ve found that I’m happiest. it’s always good to consider sleeping. you’d also like to get the best results. If you want to change your body. But what about growing adults? Kids bodies are constantly changing so they need their rest. Despite gaining several hours in my day through polyphasic sleep deprivation techniques. If you go to bed at 9pm. As a Type A personality. doesn’t it make sense that you might want to get a bit more rest too? And how about bedtimes? Kids don’t want to go to bed at 9pm any more than you do. which require sustained diligence. But you set the rules for them. ENERGY & FAT LOSS! It’s also something every one of us actually looks forward to! “Aww. unless you’re a totally different breed of monster than me. empty your mind and stay in bed until you do. If you set and enforce the same rules for yourself. I’m well rested and full of energy… what should I do with myself?! So many possibilities!” If diet and exercise require energy and determination that isn’t there to begin with. “Man. and enjoying fat-loss at the same time? Once your sleep needs are taken care of (and you’ve likely shed a few pounds in the process). Can’t fall asleep right away? No problem! Just relax. you will sleep more and be better rested than if you go to bed anytime later. feel better AND somehow manage to get twice as much done because you have so much more energy and concentration… not to mention that getting stronger and leaner in the gym becomes several times easier! I mean. and with the least amount of work involved… right? If Your Kids Can Do It… Nobody would argue that growing kids need their sleep.

Previous research has shown that genetic influences include things like glucose metabolism. let’s start looking at some research! Both better sleep quality and more than 7 hours per night increased the likelihood of weightloss success by 33%. However. so welcome them. the heritability of BMI was twice as high for the short sleepers than for twins who slept longer than nine hours a night. major study design limitations preclude definitive conclusions. regular sleep. and cancerous. and healthy eating. finding research on sleep and weight loss is actually quite hard to come by. Studies reporting the association between sleep duration and at least one measure of weight were included… Thirty-six publications (31 cross-sectional.” (12) “Evidence suggests that individuals who report fewer total hours of sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. more energy. 5 prospective. energy use. with a bad heart. with 28 percent of adults now reporting that they get six or fewer hours of sleep per night.” (15) “According to annual surveys done by the National Sleep Foundation. (13) And how many of us are getting it? “Sleep deprivation is a growing problem. Too much or too little shuteye can add extra pounds” (7) • “Bottom line: not enough sleep makes you fat. and learn to deal with them. These are good problems to have. by 1998 only 35% of American adults were obtaining 8h of sleep and that number had fallen to 26% by 2005. particularly in younger age groups.” -Benjamin Franklin Sleep & Weight Loss Research After all this talk about the importance of sleep. less stress and a happier life! • “Early to bed. The negative vices of the evening don’t exist in the early morning. hypersensitive. hungry. In this study. But HOW important is it… really? Consider the following: • “The only ways to boost your metabolism are exercise.Afraid of working while well-rested in the peaceful silence of the early morning instead of while burnt-out and inefficient at night? • Scared of not having plenty of time to exercise so you can’t fall back on your favorite excuses. and actually having a bit of time to enjoy a cup of coffee. impotent. And the only way to grow is by conquering your fears instead of staying a slave to them. Further research with objective measures of sleep . fatty acid storage and satiety. so work on getting to bed earlier and enjoy easier fat-loss.088 pairs of twins and found that sleeping less than seven hours a night was associated with both increased BMI and greater genetic influences on BMI. only you can do that. wealthy and wise. listen to the birds and watch the sun rise? Again. and 0 experimental) were identified… Short sleep duration appears independently associated with weight gain.” (14) “[A] study looked at 1. I can’t fight your demons for you.” (6) • “A sleep schedule is vital to any weight-loss plan. Additional references were identified by reviewing bibliographies and contacting experts in the field. early to rise makes a man healthy. Consider this literature review: “A literature search was conducted for all articles published between 1966 and January 2007 using the search “sleep” and (“duration” or “hour” or “hours”) and (“obesity” or “weight”) in the MEDLINE database.” (4) But the story doesn’t stop there… The Sleep & Weight Loss Information Gap Despite the preceding quote-laden section. so sleep is important for weight loss.” (13) OK.

5 hours of sleep. overweight adult volunteers were observed in a lab where their calories. The results… Both groups lost 6.6lbs on average. not getting your Z’s while dieting sounds like about one of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to lose weight. but the sleep deprived group lost 55% less fat and 60% more muscle! 55% LESS FAT-LOSS and 60% MORE MUSCLE-LOSS is HUGE! The sleep deprived group lost precious muscle… recall that a pound of muscle burns 50 calories per day. . and experimental study designs that manipulate sleep are needed to better define the causal relationship of sleep deprivation on obesity.” that’s a whopping 216 MILLION US citizens who would probably like to lose a few pounds. And what we already know is very compelling.3% as extremely obese. but very little money to be made in prevention with natural cures that anyone can do for free (like sleep). I’m eagerly looking forward to these results. researchers like Christopher Gardner at the Stanford School of Medicine and others are looking at sleep as a possible weight loss intervention. (16) That’s 19. So far. • Lose less fat and more muscle when on a diet. exercise & sleep window were carefully controlled. Who wants to burn less fat and have to eat less because they’ve lost the passive fat-burning ability of muscle… sounds like a double edged sword to me.5 hours to sleep.duration. One group were allowed 8. At least.7% as obese. you’ll burn 500 fewer calories per day… NOT GOOD! Not only are they losing an important metabolic advantage from their muscle loss. EVERY NIGHT And we know sleep affects weight loss… So why isn’t more research available? Turn that idea around in your head for a while… I’d wager it’s because there’s lots of money in pills. repeated assessments of both sleep and weight.8 million people who are EXTREMELY OBESE in the USA alone… and if we look at everyone classified as “overweight or obese. that’s one possible reason for the lack of research into this topic. and the other group were allowed 5.8% are classified as “overweight or obese.” (14) 36 studies is NOT a lot… that’s less than 1 study per year from 1966 to 2007! Only a quarter of us are getting enough sleep and 68. we’ll have to be content with what we know so far. EVERYONE SLEEPS.” 35. I don’t know about you. Another thing that’s easy to overlook in the meta analysis above is… ZERO experimental studies were found! However. Research on Sleep People who sleep less… • Eat more calories than those who sleep more. despite the problem. diet. Diet. but I like to be efficient with my exercise. So if you lose 10lbs of muscle and 10lbs of fat. they’re losing less fat for doing the same amount of work. Sleep Deprivation & Weight Loss In one study. I’d wager several authors and exercise centers have done studies of their own… but getting published in journals is usually a bit more expensive and rigorous. but until they’re published. and 6.

So instead of making a bag of popcorn and plopping yourself down in front of the TV. let’s turn our attention to how sleep deprivation affects several critical fat-loss hormones. and lose more fat than you’d lose by exercising… so there’s no reason for most of us to exercise when sleep deprived… fix that first and THEN consider exercise. going to bed as quickly as possible is probably the best thing you can do for your fat-loss. It’s when you get into the habit of sleeping too little that you start to see problems. If you feel too tired. that means less time to eat the really bad stuff that creeps into our diets late at night. one group was allowed to continue sleeping as usual.” By going to bed earlier. When sleep deprived. You’ll conserve more muscle than you’ll conserve by exercising. look first at your sleeping habits. it’s like a dull blade… you’re going to have to do a lot of hacking to make any progress! Probably a lot safer just to sharpen the darn thing before you go into battle! Before majoring in the minors. GO TO BED! If you’re ever wondering if you should sacrifice sleep for exercise or calories… my advice is simply: Don’t make a habit of it! There are special cases where the lack of sleep won’t hurt much. You may be working several times harder than the guy next to you in the gym that is getting the same results AND enjoying a good night’s rest. and get back to the same weight with fat where muscle used to live… yikes! This means they get to eat less and gain more than before they decided to go on a diet while sleep deprived! So if you’re fighting the flab. .But what if you’re not dieting? No Diet. you really need to take care of it sooner than later or you’ll forever miss out on the many benefits that exercise provides (including being 10x more likely to keep the weight off than non-exercisers). a bit of deprivation can actually help with strength… but these are special cases. the sleep deprived group ate 549 MORE CALORIES PER DAY than the control group! That’s a pound of weight gain per week! Remember this the next time you’re “too busy to sleep. you… • Burn less fat • Lose more muscle • Eat more calories And this list will just get longer and longer as we go along. and for most of us. Subjects ate and slept like they normally would for 3 days to establish baseline sleep and calorie consumption. Now. remember that sleep is your sword! If you’re not getting it. and not the norm. likely yo-yo. if you’re not getting your Z’s (7 hour minimum for most people). while the other group was woken up an average of 80 minutes earlier than they did over their 3 day baseline average. you have less time to eat. Then. Why You Must Sleep When Dieting Sleep deprivation hurts everyone… perhaps the dieters most of all! Non-dieters will get fatter. and pre-competition for powerlifting. In short. The result… Over the next 8 days. too often. calories weren’t controlled. Sleep Deprivation & Weight Loss In another study. but dieters will also lose precious muscle.

” (9) • “HGH is often called the ‘fountain of youth’… HGH can shed body fat. not just for fat loss. health and cognitive functioning. But when you’re sleep deprived. your brain secretes a large amount of growth hormone.” (1) • “During deep sleep.” (10) Human growth hormone is important.Hormone Levels (Dials on an Equalizer) “Anything that disrupts our sleep-wake cycle will disrupt our diurnal rhythm and our hormones will go out of balance. but for energy. we can dramatically improve our production of the youth hormone. Since intermittent fasting also helps with both the production of HGH and fat loss. Its secretion is dramatically improved by brief intense exercise. and lifestyle of our HG ancestors. We’re now going to look at some of the dials that we know get messed up when you aren’t sleeping enough. you probably want to adjust it with the remote instead of crouching down and fiddling with the buttons.” (5) • “And HGH is secreted only during deep sleep. which tells your body how to break down fat for fuel. and even fixing DNA damage. You want to change the channel. TVs have settings on them as well such as brightness. However. It’s the same story for any of these settings – you just use the remote from the comfort of your chair.” (3) You can think of hormones like dials on an equalizer. and restful sleep. Get more sleep and you can enjoy this natural fountain of youth that is always present within your body. improve sex drive and performance. improve brain function. aging. . HGH levels tend to decrease with age. your HGH switch gets all out of whack. we’ll save these and other recommendations for another blog post. but you have to hit the darn button 5 or 6 times before it works! This is analogous to HORMONE RESISTANCE. When you get plenty of sleep. burning fat. it is one of the reasons that I eventually teach many clients how to stave off hunger while skipping breakfast in the morning. If the picture’s too bright. even the most ardent weight watcher will experience plenty of frustration but not much weight loss. It’s more efficacious than every “anti-aging” cream on the market. boost your energy. improve immune and heart function. it’s like a little kid came by and messed everything up. punctuated eating (intermittent fasting). but by emulating the exercise. food. help you sleep better. But there are 2 kinds of problems you will frequently encounter with your TV settings: • The first problem is that someone messed up the volume. This is analogous to having your hormone responses all screwed up because you’re sleep deprived. If your remote’s not working. To explain hormonal resistance. The Fountain of Youth Hormone: HGH The first switch is for human growth hormone (HGH): • “Growth hormone (HGH) is critical for maintaining lean body mass. imagine you have a TV remote in your hand. low carbohydrate intake. it makes it a lot harder to enjoy watching the boob tube. reduce wrinkles. contrast. increase muscle tone. and a lot cheaper too! Understanding Hormonal Resistance (The TV Remote) Like an equalizer. etc. • The second kind of problem is that your remote may not work too well. and you’ve got to fix it. If you’re not getting your Z’s. the dials are in the optimal position. Without sleep. brightness or some other default setting. volume.

When the channel has changed. you’re put at a major disadvantage because you can’t ramp up leptin production when it’s most needed. leptin resistance. in turn increases leptin resistance. but your body stops responding to them. developing resistance to leptin makes you more likely to overeat. Since leptin tells your body when to stop eating. it’s like your remote control is dying. and less capable of burning fat… This is NOT a good combination for fat-loss! The Stress Hormone: Cortisol . and more likely to overeat. The following time you’ll need to click 11 times. That hormone is insulin.” (3) “Poor sleep also causes insulin resistance. The remote not working would be like type II diabetes. So next time you need to change the channel. it’s worse than the failing remote. you stop clicking. it’s left with tons of leftover insulin that needs to be dealt with. This in turn will make your cells even more insulin resistant. you won’t need to click 5 times. Eventually. It’s a vicious cycle. and when you are sleep-deprived. But when your sleep is troubled. meaning you are less likely to be satisfied with your meal.” (18) Just like the remote control that gets worse and worse over time. if you develop insulin resistance. You keep producing the hormones. sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance and this means less fat loss than with normal insulin levels. “Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. However. once your body absorbs what it should.” (3) “Fat breakdown is principally controlled by the single hormone that inhibits its activity. this number becomes so high that it looks like your remote control is BROKEN. Instead of shuttling nutrients to your cells efficiently. As we saw earlier. this is exactly what happened to the sleep deprived group in the study that ate 549 more calories than the well-rested participants. it shuts down appetite and speeds up metabolism. or any other kind of resistance. let’s look at the major players involved in hunger and how sleep affects them. you not only eat more. but even worse. your cells will not respond to insulin as they should. The Hunger Hormones: Leptin & Ghrelin “Leptin is the chemical messenger that transmits signals from fat cells directly to the brain. So when talking about insulin resistance.For example. Hungry more often. cortisol resistance. So your body keeps producing more and more insulin until it gets the result it desires. which in turn causes leptin resistance. and this number keeps increasing. more likely to overeat. Now that you understand hormone resistance. Another hormone called ghrelin tells your body when to start eating… Guess what? Sleep affects ghrelin too. It’s like those 5 wasted clicks on the remote… your body is waiting for response so it keeps clicking the button. you have more ghrelin. This. When leptin binds with the brain’s receptors.” (17) So when you’re sleep deprived. you’ll need to click 7 times. Your body just stops responding to the signals it should be receiving from insulin. The problem is. but are also hungry more often. the nutrients don’t get where they’re supposed to go in time. The body’s natural response to hormone resistance is to make more of the hormone to overcome the resistance.

you will STILL have high levels of cortisol if you’re not sleeping enough! The only CURE for sleep deprivation is… SLEEP! But if your cortisol is elevated. caffeine. So the good news is. no expensive specialists needed. can seriously undermine your ability to deal with otherwise manageable levels of stress. It’s a catch-22 if you don’t have your ducks in a row.” (1) “It is a nasty snowball effect that is called a ‘feed forward’ mechanism in biology.5 hours a night. well it seems clear that lack of sleep increases cortisol and can reduce your resistance to stress.” is closely tied to your sleep and weight loss efforts. 9. cortisol is a big deal.5 hours… even I don’t get that! But the main point here is that even if you fix your stress issues. just build more sleep into your schedule and you won’t have to earn so much to pay for your medical problems… oh. This means no energy when getting up in the morning. Meds and booze do not fix the situation. Any questions?” (1) OK. you’re likely to get a second wind around 10pm and be up several more hours whether you like it or not. stressed out. healthy individuals will wake up with high cortisol and go to bed with low cortisol. some changes in habit can make it all better… awesome! No pills required. . which raises cortisol. Yes folks. and too much energy when lying down for bed at night! This is a NASTY cycle… and most of us are in it! I won’t get into sleep tips much in this article. Unlike exercise where cortisol is beneficial and short in duration. and decreased sex drive and libido. but in the case of what Charles Poliquin calls “tired and wired. but if you have this problem and feel tired at night… take your body’s cue and go to bed immediately! Otherwise. The consequences of this downward spiral include suppressed immune function. stress.” (1) Normally. Cortisol decreases insulin sensitivity lowers the rate of bone formation. thus affecting sleep. chronically elevated blood sugar levels. and certain contraceptives. starting as close to dusk as possible. insulin. It will trigger the breakdown of muscle mass by converting protein (amino acids) into glucose via gloconeogenesis. getting enough sleep can help buffer against stress and lower elevated cortisol. continuous stress. or not sleeping well. the “stress hormone. your cortisol gets elevated. which makes us more prone to daily stress. and causes a loss of collagen in the skin and other connective tissues. and you’ll feel better too. your cortisol. and prolactin won’t drop to winter levels unless you sleep 9. it’s HARDER TO SLEEP! “Staying up too late. sleep deprivation. On the flip side of the coin. Your other responsibilities can wait until the morning! “Stress has an additive effect… sleep is likely the most important factor… concerning stress. “But even if you stop eating carbohydrates. subcutaneous fat tissue. Don’t pass-up the chance for an early night’s rest. “Cortisol increases blood pressure and acts as an anti-inflamatory by lowering the activity of the immune system.” (4) Yikes.We’re talking about stress because cortisol. or simply neglecting sleep quality and duration.” (1) So if you’re overweight (with lots of subcutaneous fat tissue). but day-to-day stress can elevate cortisol in the evening and leave you tired and wired. impaired ability to form long-term memory. Abnormally elevated cortisol begins to disturb sleep. sleep deprivation and being overweight lead to regularly elevated cortisol levels. decreased insulin sensitivity. The following increase cortisol levels: intense or prolonged physical activity.” many people actually get high cortisol in the evening and have low levels in the morning.

more cortisol. more often. There’s a great new field emerging called epigenetics that studies how heritable changes in gene expression can . we then trade an hour of sleep so we can work an hour more! Our Actions are INSANE! I know that spiral all too well… been there. “I’ve made some poor financial choices and now I spend every day worrying about the future and regretting my mistakes in the past. and.” (1) Stressed Out.But why is elevated cortisol bad for weight loss? “Shorter nights meant less melatonin. that’s what I used to think.” (4) It keeps coming back to elevated insulin… Elevated insulin leads to insulin resistance and the host of problems that follow that we outlined in the previous section. more stressed. I’d hate to make a slippery slope argument… but these things are all tied together! Don’t sleep enough and you are more hungry. how ya been?” “Pretty busy Mark… how bout you?” “Aww. Tired & Wired I’d wager continuously elevated stress started somewhere around the time we decided to trade 5 days of our lives for 2 days to drink beer and buy stuff for our houses that we never have time to actually enjoy – because the future is definitely going to be more stressful than the present… at least. And if you want worse health. That being said. who spends 10 minutes circling the parking lot instead of parking 20 feet further from the door. It’s a nasty downward spiral that makes fat-loss damn near impossible. but genetics are secondary to your habits. just behave like the average American. let’s end on a nice note for cortisol because it’s great when it’s “switch” is on the right setting: “Cortisol shouldn’t be feared.” (11) If you’re not “busy” these days. there’s light at the end of the tunnel! “People with demanding jobs and not much freedom to make decisions have a 23% higher chance of experiencing a heart attack than those whose jobs are less stressful. Less melatonin meant more estrogen and testosterone. Let me paint a depressing picture… but don’t worry. unable to sleep. Start getting sleep deprived and you have a harder time sleeping at night. This is what you get if you follow the status quo… and that’s why it’s good NOT TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! And being abnormal by sleeping a bit more than your obese co-worker. you’re not working hard enough… “Hey Bob. and fatter. you eat more and have lower resistance to stress. done that. of course. more insulin. And this downward spiral continues… because I just get more tired. because it is a crucial anti-inflamatory — we just don’t want too much of it.” And if that’s not bad enough. you’re not to be respected by others… If you’re not stressed. and waking up in the morning. is a good place to start. and fat. If you want health like the average American. genetics play a role. work like a lawyer! It’s time to break the cycle! Of course. don’t ever want to go back. This makes me stressed out. life’s been crazy!” Which is more and more frequently code for.

occur and be passed on to future generations by factors other than changes to your underlying DNA structure. • If you want to be strong like an Olympian. a bit more kind. Marcus Pembrey and colleagues observed that the paternal (but not maternal) grandsons of Swedish men who were exposed during preadolescence to famine in the 19th century were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Oh. The opposite effect was observed for females—the paternal (but not maternal) granddaughters of women who experienced famine while in the womb (and therefore while their eggs were being formed) lived shorter lives on average. and put in 10. A bit more energetic and playful. find an Olympic weightlifting coach and get training. those positive changes can be passed onto your children! But the same is true for negative changes as well… So are you passing on the best genes possible to your kids. I guarantee you’ll become an amazing mathematician! It’s not like the Karate kid where you train hard for a few weeks and become a champion everybody loves. just hire a tutor. then diabetes mortality in the grandchildren increased. Sushi masters spend a lifetime perfecting their art. Fat 2 Fit Radio. and all they do is put a piece of meat on top of a rice ball… easy to talk about. no matter how bad you think you are. has a ridiculously simple way to guarantee you get to your ideal weight… Just eat the same daily calories as a person at your ideal weight! As always.000 hours. you need to act “As if” you were a healthier person – even if that suddenly makes you “abnormal” or “extreme!” Do this long enough. If food was plentiful. Imagine A Well-Rested Life Take a couple minutes to imagine what life could be like on just 1 extra hour of sleep per night. but the main principle remains the same… act like the person you want to become and your chances of getting there will rise exponentially. Top sushi chefs can make over $1000 per hour for the art they spend decades perfecting… but they don’t get there after a 10day seminar that costs $5000. there are caveats to consider. buy the recommended math books. 365 extra hours of sleep over the course of a year can make a HUGE difference… and that’s several THOUSAND more hours of sleep in the next decade.” (19) Furthermore. generous and understanding of the people in your life. sleep as much as well-rested people sleep. • If you want to be better rested. and you eventually will become that healthier person. and your body can drastically change! “In the Överkalix study. On one of my favorite podcasts. A bit happier. but hard to master. a bit healthier. or are you setting them up for teenage diabetes? Act AS IF… If you want to have better health. suggesting that this was a transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. and dare I mention that several studies suggest that sleeping longer may mean living longer! . • If you want to be better at math. In other words… Improve your habits. Being a little less stressed each day. Just a little bit more of these each day.

so my relative strength has gone through the roof. it’s about having more energy. and a harder time with even the most mundane of tasks? Just as lack of sleep creates a downward spiral. playfulness and productivity. which also affects your happiness. • It’s about having better health. My lifts are also just as strong as they were when I was 10kg heavier. Like Dave Tate. I spent about a decade yo-yo dieting before I finally understood the importance of sustainability… of not stretching yourself until you break. They work to the point of exhaustion. your attractiveness. getting more sleep creates an upward spiral! • It’s not just about fat-loss. I’ve gotten progressively stronger and leaner since I started. • It’s about having a better mood. but I’ve worked out several times a week. I spent several years going nowhere too… as a matter of fact. or are you setting yourself up to fail? Sleep vs. your relationships. These days. feel better rested. They puke… they give it their all… And they get nowhere. your productivity. happiness. your attractiveness. you will recover faster from exercise. sleep affects this about as powerfully as food. All of the stuff we talked about with regards to insulin and inflammation. So would you rather work hard at improving your diet. But as a result of my consistency. and finally saw my abs for the first time this year. have better memory and recall. your playfulness. your confidence… Sleep affects you. less focus. and enjoy the same metabolic advantages? I know hundreds of people who will go to the gym for a few months each year. and have fewer allergies and significantly less inflammation. how does sleep compare to diet and exercise? “If you get a better handle on your sleep. in every aspect of your life. your productivity. your playfulness. well-rested life where you’re living at your optimal potential than a short life with more stress. I don’t work that hard. for good or for ill.Wouldn’t it be better to have a long. So are you setting yourself up to succeed. your relationships. which affects your vitality.” (1) Even if sleep and diet are not identical in their efficacy. they’re both very important. just about every week. Diet & Exercise When it comes to fat-loss. or sleep more. for the past 7 years. which affects your happiness. . I only have 1-2 “tough” sets in me per workout.

Sure. BUT… Don’t bitch about it. it doesn’t look sexy to go into the gym and bench an empty bar to 40% of your max on the first set… but it looks even worse if you’re still benching the same weight 10 years later! Sleep Is A Badass Angel… . Chris will back me up on this.” is NOT respectable. most people don’t need to work any harder. but wouldn’t it be better to feel as good as you feel on vacation… every day of your life?! If you like to work hard just for the sake of working hard… be my guest. don’t expect results. but from that little voice in your head that got you into this mess in the first place. not just from your friends and family. despite “working really hard. You need to develop a master’s mentality… to be in it for the long run. and don’t expect anyone to respect you. From what I’ve seen. Sleeping-in during vacation is great. The smartest thing you can do if you’re sleep deprived is to catch up on your sleep. Stupid training. they need to work SMARTER… and they need to work smarter consistently.Sleep is good for fat-loss! It’s kinda like that sushi chef who keeps working at his art. Consistency is respectable. Using your brain is respectable. That’s something I can respect… and it takes some balls! Just try it and see how much resistance you encounter.

Sleep is a completely different monster than diet and exercise… in fact. your body will respond to them better because of the sleep so you’ll get better results because of the sleep. … SLEEP GIVES YOU ENERGY! From ALL of the evidence I’ve seen regarding sleep deprivation. if diet and exercise are monsters. how on earth does sleep get left out of the fat-loss equation? No matter who I talk to. Treat Your Sleep Like a Bank Account Here are a few final rules for managing your sleep debt: 1. but there’s a special discount on diet and exercise benefits for people who don’t have sleep debt. But let’s pretend that’s not the case since this particular study hasn’t been done yet (and since some may accuse me of confirmation bias or anecdotal evidence). Stop treating your body like a credit card. and sleep. Use your sleep to pay off your energy debts – and then make that account positive. Most people don’t know this. you’ll have more willpower because of the sleep. Don’t spend energy you don’t have by trying to start a diet or exercise you can’t sustain because you’re already near your limit. novel solutions. Having a specific goal at a regular time increases your chances of doing it by 300%. Because after all. anabolics. 2. and you’ll be more likely to succeed because of the sleep. if you’re into that sort of thing…” And the exceedingly rare. When changing your diet or exercise. This makes it easier to work. Pay yourself by sleeping. “And sleep?” … Crickets! Followed by. so set a bedtime and go for it. you easily fall into old habits and have to think of new. eating well and strong as Hercules eventually… right? So when you’re waking up every morning before your alarm goes off. 3. Exercise requires energy. you’d like to be well rested. You’ll have more energy for them because of the sleep. “Oh yeah. sleep is a badass angel that slays monsters by the score! Diet requires energy. Even if diet or exercise were more effective than getting out of sleep deprivation for fat-loss… You should STILL catch-up on your Z’s first! If for nothing more than for the simple fact that more sleep will give you more energy for future dietary improvements and exercise. it’s always the same “diet & exercise” advice for fat loss! When I respond. “Well.” Sleep is Already a Scheduled Habit Sleep is already a scheduled activity & regular habit whereas a new diet and exercise require new habit formation. You can get the same benefits at a tiny fraction of the cost! . The only thing you have to think about for improving your sleep is what would make a good bedtime. Really. sleeping is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than diet or exercise alone. THEN you can consider major changes to diet or exercise… not before.

go to sleep! Normally Sleep Deprived Work on your sleeping habits (or habits that support your sleeping habits) before anything else. Expect to make more poor dietary choices. antidepressants. etc. you’d be insane to say. You can be dragging your ass. supplements. Expect a lack of willpower. Feel free to miss a workout to catch-up on sleep instead.” -Thomas Carlyle So where should you start? Sleep Recommendations Occasionally Sleep Deprived Catch-up on sleep ASAP. Don’t sacrifice sleep for diet/exercise. and storing some money in the bank. it’s going to take a lot longer to get to your destination… PLUS you’ll have a whole lot of walking to do! “The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.5 hours of sleep per night. diabetes. If you’re low on energy. running on empty and lose a few pounds… but is it worth it? Wouldn’t it be better to take it a bit slower. but so will cancer. “If you are sick or overweight. and without the side effects! Sleep is NOT OPTIONAL if you want to lose fat and be happy in the long run. before doing anything else. If you’re tired and the sun’s gone down. but I’d like to ENJOY the process & the RESULTS of my efforts. If you ignore the meter and let it get to empty. and it’s not a good place to be! I ran myself into the ground over and over for YEARS and don’t want to see you go through the same hell I did. counseling. “More Energetic” as well-rested exercisers often claim?! Why bother getting leaner if you’re going hate every step of the process and then hate what you have to do to maintain your results? Maybe I’m weird. If the gas gauge in your car is running on empty. Make sure you can pay for your energy expenditures in cash by paying off your debts first. . I bring this up because I’ve been there. Expect missed workouts. this is a nonnegotiable topic… sleeping more might cut into your social life. the further you can go between visits to the gas station. prioritize sleep for fat-loss because: • Sleep gives you more energy & willpower • Sleep optimizes your hormones & reduces stress • Sleep improves your fat-loss results when dieting • Sleep improves your muscle gain/retention/recovery when exercising • Sleep is cheaper than anything you pay for including cosmetics. it means you need to refill your tanks. and the more you fill it up. gasp. “I don’t have time to go to the gas station!“ You’ve gotta refill your tank. feel better rested and.4. and dementia!” (1) Sleep & Fat-Loss Summary So to recap. Expect low energy. but 95% of us need 7-8 hours to feel well rested. Most Americans get 6-6.

Chris says this is a must-read if weight loss is your goal because if you have fat to lose. and several times harder to maintain. if you have any questions or comments.Don’t try to do everything at once. You may want to also review the “treat your sleep like a bank account” section just before the summary. and share with a friend who will appreciate it too. The Key to Success. so if you want to sleep more and all 24 hours are packed. So if you’re watching 4 hours of TV each night AND only sleeping 4 hours a night. for a better one. It’s just $2. but you must make these changes very small and give yourself more time than usual to make them habits. Lies in Your Habits Each of us only have 24 hours in a day. pick up your copy today. I look forward to reading them in the comments below! :) Stay Mighty! -Nick . something else has to go. and it is. It’s the same as adding any activity into your schedule. As Always. cut the TV and you can get 8 hours. Sounds easy. reference it often. In Closing This has been a pretty long post… So I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Expect results to be several times harder to achieve. As I taught in Fat Loss 101.97 and teaches you how to make new habits that stick. but only if you make sleep a higher priority than the things that are detracting from it. Very minimal changes in diet/exercise are possible while sleep deprived. If you don’t have Fat Loss 101. just get into the habit of getting more sleep each night. Finally. you have to be ready to substitute a sub-optimal activity. it’s because you haven’t mastered the basics.

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