Does your job involve sitting inside all day (and maybe night?) Have you spent years on a weight gain-weight-loss-weight-gain roller coaster?
Could lack of sunlight be a contributing factor? My simple answer to that is “yes, most definitely”.
Without sufficient vitamin D, AKA vitamin “daylight”, your body thinks you are hibernating.
It thinks winter is coming.
So what does it instinctively do as a response?
It slows down the metabolism, encouraging you to eat more, and store lots of fat to help you to “see through the winter”.
Even when it’s not winter!
Thanks to our erratic shift schedules and overwhelming levels of fatigue, shift workers inadvertently spend less time in the outdoors.
However it’s not just those of us working 24/7 who are locking ourselves inside or soaking ourselves in sunscreens each time we venture outside in the sun, because there’s actually a world wide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.
And whilst we may call it a vitamin per se, it’s actually not a vitamin. It’s a steroid hormone, meaning it’s a steroid that acts as a hormone.
This one little hormone has loads of responsibilities including helping to coordinate our metabolism, our digestive and cardio-vascular systems, along with our immune, endocrine, and reproductive systems.
But what about our sleep?
Well considering there are lots of vitamin D receptor sites found in the brain and brainstem (proteins found on the surface of a cell which “listen’ to incoming messages) which are linked to light cues on the retina in the eye helping to trigger the production of melatonin influencingour sleep, one can make the assumption that vitamin D has a very important role in our circadian clock or sleep/wake cycle. (more…)