Rocking on the Roads: “Sleep”
by Hector Romo-Parra

When I started running I was caring more and more about my food income and my training schedule; however at some point I was not improving at all… there was something missed. At that time I used to go to bed very late even if I needed to wake up next day very early, sleeping 3 or 4 hours per night. One day somehow, I found an article about sleep deprivation and its relation to body mass index and obesity, but also its relation to diabetes and many other health problems; “EUREKA! This might be the point”.

hector 1“Today, more than 30% in the US of adult men
and women between the ages of 30 and 64 years
report sleeping less than 6 hours per night 1




In fact, I started to care about the time and quality of my sleep (years later I was oversleeping, but that is another story that you can read here). People close to me were surprised but also concerned because I was not in bed later that 21:00 hrs during weeks and midnight over weekends. I started to be more disciplined and this new schedule helped me in two scenarios, from one side I improved my running with less injuries; from the other side I reduced weight faster and increased muscles mass; I was surprise how important is the sleep as important is the food-income and the training per se. Getting ample sleep is one component of the training but also recovery cycle that is indispensable and, despite that we can reduce it, we can not quit. That’s why I decided to have a short read along the impact of sleep and health.

SAMSUNG“In Western societies, where chronic sleep restriction is common and food is widely available, changes in appetite regulatory hormones with sleep curtailment may contribute to obesity… Leptin and ghrelin are involved in appetite regulation and energy expenditure. Leptin inhibits appetite and increases energy expenditure, while ghrelin has the opposite affects. Sleep restriction is associated with lower leptin and higher ghrelin levels and is thus likely to increase hunger and appetite 2,3

Here are my 10 top facts about sleep:

1. Adequate sleep would reduce the possibilities of acquiring several diseases, for instance: diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, disturbances in blood pressure, diabetes, etc.

2. Short sleep  duration (<7h) in young, healthy men is associated with decreased leptin levels, increased ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite 2

3. There is substantial evidence in support of an association between long sleep (>8 h) and increased morbidity and mortality 4

4. Sleep deprivation is a risk to human health and safety through its effects on brain function, which include increased lapses of attention, deficits in cognition and memory, and involuntary sleep onsets 5.

5. Getting enough sleep also prevents impairments of our immune system 5

6. During sleep time the body releases the “human growth hormone” which has been implicated in muscle and soft tissue recovery 6

7. Sleep deprivation reduces the ability to store glycogen by your body, and we all know how important is to have this reserve during races!.

8. “The amount of human sleep contributes to the maintenance of fat-free body mass at times of decreased energy intake. Lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction” 7

9. In general sleep deprivation decreases endurance performance.

10. Sleep restriction increases the proinflammatory enzymes levels (cytokine) 8

Extra: During sleep there is a high possibility to start dreaming and dreams have inspired writers, poets, musicians and painters, Then why not to give it a chance?


hector3Héctor is a runner during mornings and a Neurophysiologist during days.  He lives in Germany and he runs for two motivations: his 4 year old Son who is living in Mexico and to raise funds for “The Myasthenia Gravis Association” since he has been diagnosed with this disease.


“Move yourself for the one that can not move” support us:





1.  Knutson KL Spiegel, K, Penev, P, Van, E. The Metabolic Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Sleep Med Rev. 2007 June ; 11(3): 163–178.

2. Taheri S1, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3)

3. Spiegel K1, 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. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Dec 7;141(11):846-50.

4 .Kripke DF, Garfinkel L, Wingard DL, Klauber MR, Marler MR. Mortality associated with sleep duration and insomnia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002;59:131–6.

5. Dinges DF, Douglas SD, Hamarman S, Zaugg L, Kapoor S.  Sleep deprivation and human immune function. Adv Neuroimmunol. 1995;5(2):97-110.

6. Redwine L1, Hauger RL, Gillin JC, Irwin M. Effects of sleep and sleep deprivation on interleukin-6, growth hormone, cortisol, and melatonin levels in humans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Oct;85(10):3597-603.

7. Nedeltcheva AV1, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 5;153(7):435-41

8. Abedelmalek S1, Souissi N, Chtourou H, Denguezli M, Aouichaoui C, Ajina M, Aloui A, Dogui M, Haddouk S, Tabka Z. Effects of partial sleep deprivation on proinflammatory cytokines, growth hormone, and steroid hormone concentrations during repeated brief sprint interval exercise. Chronobiol Int. 2013 May;30(4):502-9.

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