Your Fat Cells Need Enough Sleep to Function Properly

English: Excess adipose tissue around a male's...

English: Excess adipose tissue around a male’s mid-section. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t get enough sleep, your fat cells can’t regulate energy the way they should and this eventually leads to weight gain, according to a new research study from the University of Chicago.  Adipose tissue, which is the clinical name for body fat, is involved in the storage and release of fat. The cells in body fat work together with the body’s natural insulin to accomplish this.

The researchers who performed this study found that lack of sleep makes fat cells 30 percent less responsive to insulin, or what clinicians call insulin resistant. What that means is that instead of removing fatty acids and lipids from circulation so that they don’t cause damage to other tissues, the fat cells just let the acids and lipids flow out into the circulatory system. And by the way, if you haven’t caught it yet, insulin resistance is the precursor to the most talked about medical condition of this millennium – diabetes.  So letting your fat cells run amok because of lack of sleep can also make you a candidate for type 2 diabetes.

These conclusions resulted from an analysis of seven healthy adults (1 woman, 6 men) with an average age of approximately 23 years old and a BMI of 22.8 kg/m2. They went through two test cycles administered four weeks apart. In the first cycle, they spent four days sleeping 4.5 hours each day. In the second, they spent four days sleeping 8.5 hours each day. Their food intake and physical activity were controlled.

The researchers measured insulin sensitivity by measuring the phosphorylation of a protein in fat cells called Akt. The phosphorylation of Akt changes it in such a way that it is able to work in conjunction with insulin, in other words, making it insulin sensitive. Not only was the Akt in the participants’ fat cells 30 percent less responsive to insulin in the sleep deprived cycle of the test, they needed a dose of insulin equivalent to three times the normal amount to get the Akt to work half as well as it should.

So if it hasn’t hit you yet, sleep is a necessity. If you think you’re accomplishing something by staying awake nights to get things done, your’re only thinking short-term. Long-term, you may be setting yourself up for the kind of weight gain that will make you a statistic in the much anticipated type 2 diabetes epidemic.

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~ by chasm63 on October 16, 2012.

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