I had a terrible night last night.
I woke several times in the night and felt totally sleep deprived in the morning.
I figured it may have had to do something with the particularly carb-heavy meal I had for dinner.
See, I've started having a carb-heavy meal once every 3 to 4 days. Carb loading like this helps me lose body fat and perform better in my workouts.
But that carb-heavy meal may be best had at breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. And if you must have it for dinner, have it minimum 3 hours before you go to bed.
Last night I had my carb-heavy meal just before I went to bed.
Good sleep is one of the most important and overlooked factors to losing man boobs, reducing body fat, and growing muscle.
If you want a great body, then good sleep is crucial.
It's a shame so many people totally disregard sleep and put all their focus on diet and exercise, when sleep has such a heavy influence on both your diet and exercise, and more importantly, on your hormones.
Show me a fat guy with man boobs who doesn't sleep well. If all I do is help him fix his sleep, and do NOTHING ELSE, he will, within a few short weeks, be less fat with smaller man boobs and bigger muscles.
Here are some of the MANY reasons sleep is crucial for losing man boobs, losing weight, and growing muscle.
How Sleep Optimizes Your Diet
Studies show that sleep deprivation makes you crave sugars and high carb foods1.
In a study on 12 healthy young men2, sleep restriction to 4 hours per night for just 2 nights, resulted in reduced levels of the satiety hormone leptin and increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This resulted in a 24% increase in hunger.
The researchers also commented that,
“Appetite for calorie-dense nutrients with high carbohydrate content, including sweets, salty snacks, and starchy foods, increased by 33% to 45%. In contrast, appetite for fruits, vegetables, and high-protein nutrients was less affected.”
So not only do you want to eat more when you don’t sleep, you want to eat more BAD food and your appetite for HEALTHY food stays low. This is so bad!
How Sleep Boosts Physical Activity And Boosts Results From Your Workouts
This one is a no-brainer.
When you sleep well, you have more energy and motivation to exercise.
Studies show that people with sleep disturbances are less physically active than people who sleep well3.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Sleep deprivation impairs post-workout recovery4, reduces exercise tolerance5, increases the likelihood of overtraining6, increases your chances of injury7, impairs recovery after injury8, and hinders muscle recovery, repair, and growth after exercise8.
Studies have also found that improving sleep quality improves exercise performance9.
Sleep has such a big impact on exercise, that any time I get a really bad night’s sleep, I skip my workout that day.
Doing low intensity exercise like walking, or going on a low intensity stroll on a bicycle, is perfectly fine, but I would avoid doing any high intensity exercise on a day after a sleepless night.
How Sleep Improves Your Hormones
Reduced sleep duration increases insulin resistance10. Insulin is the most important fat storage hormone in your body. High insulin resistance means there is more insulin in your body, and while insulin is around, your body is in fat-storage mode and is unable to burn fat.
Sleep deprivation also results in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower levels of testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 18.
Back in the pre-steroid era of bodybuilding, bodybuilders would commonly sleep for 9 hours in order to maximize testosterone production. That’s because most of our testosterone production happens when we sleep.
Sleep deprivation also increases whole-body inflammation11, which encourages fat accumulation and muscle break-down.
Losing man boobs, and changing the shape of your body, has everything to do with your hormones and little to do with calories in vs. calories out. If your hormones are out of whack, then all you’ll get from all that exercise and all that dieting is a smaller version of what you are now. If you look like a big pear now, you’ll only look like a smaller pear later.
To lose your man boobs and change the shape of your body so you look more manly, you have to change your hormones, and all the studies show that better sleep leads to a more favorable hormone profile.
How Sleep Directly Influences Fat Loss
In a study published in the The University of Chicago12, 10 adults were made to sleep 8.5 hours per night for 14 days, or 5.5 hours per night for 14 days. They were also placed on the same calorie restricted diet.
By the end of the study, there was no difference in the amount of weight lost, everyone lost an average of 3kg whether they slept 8.5 hours or 5.5 hours.
But here’s where it got interesting.
Being on a calorie restricted diet, the participants lost both fat and muscle whether they slept 8.5 hours or 5.5 hours.
Looking closer, by sleeping 8.5 hours, the participants lost 133% more fat than when they slept for 5.5 hours.
The total weight lost was the same, because when sleeping for 5.5 hours, they lost 60% more muscle (lean mass) than when they slept for 8.5 hours.
So sleeping for 5.5 hours lead to more muscle loss and less fat loss.
Sleeping for 8.5 hours lead to more fat loss and less muscle loss.
The bottom line result of this study, is that getting enough sleep can help you burn more fat and preserve more muscle.
The participants in this study reported feeling more hunger when they were sleeping for 5.5 hours. If they were not on a controlled calorie restricted diet, then there’s little doubt that the sleep-deprived group would have GAINED a whole bunch of fat.
How Sleep Improves Your General Health
Studies show that reduced sleep is associated with an increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes13, heart disease14, and high blood pressure15.
Multiple studies show that low sleep duration is linked to an increase in all-cause mortality16, meaning people who sleep less are more likely to die younger.
So if you are sleeping less to have more hours in your day, know that an hour or two of more sleep can add years to your life.
How To Improve Sleep
Improving sleep is a whole topic in itself. People have written books about it, so I won't try to cover all bases here.
Instead, I'll focus on the dietary factor that kept me up last night.
Last night I ate a particularly starchy, high-carb meal just before bed, so I did some research on how the the macronutrient content of food affects your sleep.
In a recent study in the University of North Dakota, 36 young adults consumed high protein, carbohydrate, fat, and control diets17.
The study found that high carbohydrate diets were associated with shorter wake times. Last night after my high carb dinner, I experienced short, but frequent wake times.
More important than wake times though, is overall sleep quality, which was highest during the high fat diet.
The high fat diet had the longest sleep duration, the highest sleep efficiency, and the lowest total wake time.
Looking back, my sleep quality improved dramatically when I went from my usual high carb diet to a low carb diet. I always put it down to my weight loss, but it seems eating high fat also has a more direct impact on improving your sleep.
This all makes perfect sense, because as I mentioned above, studies show that poor sleep makes you crave carbohydrate-rich food. So when you sleep well, you don’t crave carbs so much, you eat low carb, and your sleep improves further, it’s a positive feedback loop – you eat low carb and your sleep improves, you sleep better and you want to have fewer carbs.
Also, you lose weight with a low carb diet. Studies show that losing weight helps you sleep better. As you sleep better, you lose more weight. So there’s another awesome positive feedback loop.
The same study showed that a high carb diet can help you fall asleep quicker, and that eating high carb results in shorter waking times. Plus other, older studies, have shown conflicting results on whether low carb or low fat meals are better for sleep.
But none of this matters.
Because all of these studies are short-term studies.
Even if a high carb diet was better for sleep in the short-run, high carb diets make you fat, and more conclusive than any of these studies on macronutrient ratios and sleep, are studies that show fat people have poorer sleep than slim people18-20.
So you’ll eat high carb now and sleep well for now, but then you’ll get fat and start suffering from sleep apnea and sleep less. Then where will your high carb meal get you?
But thankfully, there are plenty of studies that show high fat diets are good for sleep in the short-run, and all the evidence points toward the likelihood that a low carb high fat diet will improve sleep in the long-run by making you lean.
Better sleep will go a long way in helping you to lose your man boobs.
With improved sleep, you’ll find it much easier to say “no” to all those bad foods that give you man boobs. You’ll also have more energy to exercise, and you’ll perform better in your workouts.
But don’t you need to know exactly WHAT foods are good for you and what foods to avoid to lose man boobs? Don’t you need to know what types of exercise will quickly obliterate your man boobs?
You can find out about what to eat and how to train in my program, How To Lose Man Boobs Naturally, which you can learn about in this video:
Once you know exactly what you have to do to lose your man boobs, improving your sleep will make it easier to stick to the plan, and you’ll find it a lot easier to finally lose your man boobs.
So get to eating low carb, high fat meals, boost your sleep quality, and get started on a step-by-step plan for losing those man boobs.
- Nedeltcheva, A. V. et al. Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. The American journal of clinical nutrition 89, 126-133, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26574 (2009).
- Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P. & Van Cauter, E. Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Annals of internal medicine 141, 846-850 (2004).
- Lambiase, M. J., Gabriel, K. P., Kuller, L. H. & Matthews, K. A. Temporal relationships between physical activity and sleep in older women. Medicine and science in sports and exercise 45, 2362-2368, doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31829e4cea (2013).
- Skein, M., Duffield, R., Minett, G. M., Snape, A. & Murphy, A. The effect of overnight sleep deprivation after competitive rugby league matches on postmatch physiological and perceptual recovery. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 8, 556-564 (2013).
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- Booth, C. K., Probert, B., Forbes-Ewan, C. & Coad, R. A. Australian army recruits in training display symptoms of overtraining. Mil Med 171, 1059-1064 (2006).
- Luke, A. et al. Sports-related injuries in youth athletes: is overscheduling a risk factor? Clinical journal of sport medicine : official journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine 21, 307-314, doi:10.1097/JSM.0b013e3182218f71 (2011).
- Dattilo, M. et al. Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Med Hypotheses 77, 220-222, doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017 (2011).
- Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J. & Dement, W. C. The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep 34, 943-950, doi:10.5665/SLEEP.1132 (2011).
- Gottlieb, D. J. et al. Association of sleep time with diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance. Arch Intern Med 165, 863-867, doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.863 (2005).
- Haack, M., Sanchez, E. & Mullington, J. M. Elevated inflammatory markers in response to prolonged sleep restriction are associated with increased pain experience in healthy volunteers. Sleep 30, 1145-1152 (2007).
- Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A. & Penev, P. D. Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine 153, 435-441, doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006 (2010).
- Yaggi, H. K., Araujo, A. B. & McKinlay, J. B. Sleep duration as a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care 29, 657-661 (2006).
- Ayas, N. T. et al. A prospective study of sleep duration and coronary heart disease in women. Arch Intern Med 163, 205-209 (2003).
- Gangwisch, J. E. et al. Short sleep duration as a risk factor for hypertension: analyses of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979) 47, 833-839, doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000217362.34748.e0 (2006).
- Trenell, M. I., Marshall, N. S. & Rogers, N. L. Sleep and metabolic control: waking to a problem? Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 34, 1-9, doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.2007.04541.x (2007).
- Lindseth, G. & Murray, A. Dietary Macronutrients and Sleep. West J Nurs Res 38, 938-958, doi:10.1177/0193945916643712 (2016).
- Potter, G. D. M., Cade, J. E. & Hardie, L. J. Longer sleep is associated with lower BMI and favorable metabolic profiles in UK adults: Findings from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey. PloS one 12, e0182195, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182195 (2017).
- Watson, N. F., Buchwald, D., Vitiello, M. V., Noonan, C. & Goldberg, J. A twin study of sleep duration and body mass index. J Clin Sleep Med 6, 11-17 (2010).
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