Yes really! Well, it depends…
It got your attention and actually, it could be true.
Let me break it down. When we’re stressed we release a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is a get up and go hormone, we fire it in the morning to wake our bodies up, and it fires (along with adrenaline) in stress situations.
Now cortisol plays a role in regulating blood sugar and energy release in the body, so we want some, especially when we’re exercising to help burn fat for energy. BUT too much or too little is bad news.
We’re going to focus on the too much here, as it’s what we most commonly see. Why? Because so many of us are living in an elevated stress response.
When cortisol is elevated for extended periods a few things happen:
It can starts to break down muscle, decrease nutrient intake to the muscles, inhibit tissue repair and suppress sex hormone production.
It can also affect the thyroid, in effect slowing the metabolism and it can increase insulin resistance (meaning our bodies are working less efficiently and we’re more likely to store energy as fat).
So, slowed metabolism, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat and loss of libido to name but a few side effects of extended elevated cortisol.
Research also shows that not only does excessive cortisol tend to lead to abdominal fat increase in particular, but that perversely, belly fat itself is capable of producing it’s own cortisol via an enzyme that converts inactive cortisol to active!
So where’s sleeping come into this I hear you ask?
Well, excess cortisol is a result of stress. We have lifestyle factors, overtraining factors, and inadequate sleep factors.
Aside from working on stress management techniques (as we do in our Midlife Method programme) and ensuring your training is of the right intensity and volume, with adequate recovery, the other thing you can do is ensure you’re getting enough good quality sleep (something else we cover).
Maybe it’s time for a lie in?