Does It Hurt to Miss One Night of Sleep?

Sleep Mask

Pulling an all-nighter is something of a college tradition and may occasionally occur in the workplace as well. If you're trying to lose weight, however, skipping sleep – or even cutting back a little – is a mistake. Your brain is what runs your metabolic furnace and the brain is incredibly sensitive to sleep deprivation.

A study from Sweden found that missing just one night of sleep actually altered the genes that control the biological clocks in human cells. The researchers performed genetic analysis on the test subjects after a good night's sleep and after the men had been kept awake all night. Other research has clearly linked chronic sleep deprivation to increased snacking (especially on carbohydrates and high-fat foods), poor insulin sensitivity and obesity. For example, people who regularly work night shifts or who rotate shifts tend to gain weight because of sleep disruption.

When your brain is sleep-deprived it affects your decision-making abilities. You might be able to resist the siren song of a chocolate chip cookie when you're well-rested, but not when you're short on ZZZs. A study at UC Berkeley found that after just one night without sleep, study participants faced with potato chips and sweets showed much stronger responses in the part of the brain that controls the motivation to eat. At the same time, activity dropped in the frontal cortex, which governs decision-making and an evaluation of consequences.

Sleeping a lot won't help you lose weight – in fact it can be just as bad as too little sleep – but too little sleep definitely has a negative effect on your metabolism. The counselors at the Metabolic Research Center can help you with all of the important healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating nutritious real food, getting proper exercise and strategies to ensure a good night's rest.



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MRC of Vancouver started me going in my attempt to loose 30 years of weight gain!! I have been using their program for about 18 months and have actually lost 30 pounds. I have changed the way I eat. I've learned what foods are best for ME. By analyzing my DNA and hormones, they helped me learn to eat what was right for me. I have "tweeked" my purchases and preparation of food to make eating healthy and still fun for me. I eat lots of veggies and salads and include a healthy diet of protein. These are very satisfying. Do I "cheat" now and then? Yes, but I don't like how I feel after eating sugar and lots of carbs so I return to my good foods quickly and continue to see my weight drop. I walk my little dog four times a day and have a part-time job that allows me a lot of movement. I feel so healthy and wonderful. It's easy to continue to eat and live a more healthy lifestyle! When I confessed about eating the wrong "foods", the gals simply encouraged me and gave me fresh ideas to satisfy my taste buds. I always felt I could be honest during my consultations with no fear of being lectured! I plan to continue until I reach my desired weight. I expect to reach my goal by 2017. After I reach my weight goal, I plan to remain in good health with my new found healthy way of eating the calories I need to maintain my proper weight. My Dr. is very pleased at my progress. She wondered how I have lost 30 pounds.

— Diane P. Heesch Nims-Smith

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