Sleep. We all agree it is needed, and everybody understands the benefits for your brain. But what about your fat cells? And why are they important?
If you are not getting enough sleep, it is natural to talk about the effect it is having on your cognitive functions. We’ve all seen the effects of sleep deprivation at some time, either on TV (who remembers ‘Shattered’, the UK reality show on Channel 4 that kept people awake for seven days?) or in real life (university, anyone?) and how it alters your perception and motor skills.
But new research shows that lack of sleep also has a negative impact on your fat cells. Why is that important?
While many of us see fat as the enemy, as something to lose, fat plays an important part in the body. Body fat stores and releases energy. When storing, fat removes fatty acids and lipids from the circulatory system where they can actually damage other organs. If fat cannot respond properly to insulin, these lipids can leak into the circulation and cause problems.
In the latest research conducted by the University of Chicago, they found that sleep plays an important part in fat cells’ ability to respond properly to insulin. It turns out that fat cells need proper sleep to recover from the day’s activities.
“Some people claim they can tolerate the cognitive effects of routine sleep deprivation,” said co-author Eve Van Cauter, PhD. What has been found though is that while you may be able to ‘tough out’ the mind-related effects, your insulin response and metabolic health will still suffer.
This research is just the beginning, as further studies to find out how else the body reacts to sleep are required, but the message here is clear. Sleep and sleep well, because your fat cells need it as much as your brain does!